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BIW's Largest Union Opposes CMP's Proposed Transmission Line Through Western Maine

Courtesy Central Maine Power
A rendering of what the poles will look like along CMP's 145-mile transmission line.

The largest union at Bath Iron Works is standing with local steel workers to oppose Central Maine Power's  transmission line project through western Maine.Josh Johnstone, of The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local S6, says the project won't create jobs and could actually eliminate some in the steel, renewable energy, and biomass industries.

"How many jobs in these industries, as well as tourism industries, will be lost?" Johnstone says. "I mean, these are sustainable jobs. This transmission line is bad for Maine labor."

Johnstone says he's disappointed that Maine Gov. Janet Mills has backed the project to this point. "I was helping out with Janet Mills' campaign, I stood at the gates with her, I passed out flyers. I knocked on doors, I called people at home. And to see her take this stance after the fact - its upsetting."

Johnstone says he doesn't trust Central Maine Power's commitment to Maine people at at iem when the company is requesting a distribution rate-hike of more than 10%.

Johnstone says the union is keeping a close eye on a proposed pipeline project - which recently survived two bills this past legislative session - aimed at hindering the project.

"The transmission line project, substantially enhanced by this Stipulation, now is poised to benefit Maine people, to inject millions into our economy, to create jobs, to fund electric vehicles, to reduce electricity costs, to expand broadband, and substantially reduce our carbon footprint. Now then, I believe that this is a project, on balance, that is worth pursuing," Mills said in a statement.

In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for CMP/Avangrid responded to the union's concerns about job loss, "The Public Utilities Commission gave careful consideration to the economic costs and benefits of the NECEC in Maine, including the impacts of lower energy prices and transmission congestion on in-state generators, renewable energy development, and the jobs associated with those industries. In their evaluation, the PUC dismissed those concerns, noting the near-term benefits of investing nearly $1 billion in Maine’s infrastructure and the long-term benefits of lower energy costs for all workers, consumers, and the economy."

Updated: 10:04 a.m. July 4, 2019