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Environmental Groups Sue Army Corps Of Engineers Over CMP Transmission Project Review

Robert F. Bukaty
Associated Press file

Three environmental groups are suing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for failing to require a full-blown Environmental Impact Statement for Central Maine Power’s proposed transmission line through the state’s western woods.

They say the Corps and CMP worked together, behind the scenes, to avoid a full and fully public analysis of the project’s impacts on unique wildlife habitat, on public health and safety and on net emissions of greenhouse gases.

David Publicover, senior staff scientist at the Appalachian Mountain Club, says the project’s worst impacts would be along an area of working forest that stretches from the Canadian border to Caratunk.

“The largest area of relatively natural, unfragmented forest east of the Mississippi. The impacts of a 150-foot wide, 53-mile long corridor are far more significant than scattered clear-cuts and partial harvest units and narrow logging roads,” he says.

The Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Council of Maine are joining the suit. Federal officials did not responded to requests for comment. CMP officials declined comment, referring questions to a political action committee the company funds called Clean Energy Matters. In a statement, that group called the suit “shameful.”

A Columbia University graduate, Fred began his journalism career as a print reporter in Vermont, then came to Maine Public in 2001 as its political reporter, as well as serving as a host for a variety of Maine Public Radio and Maine Public Television programs. Fred later went on to become news director for New England Public Radio in Western Massachusetts and worked as a freelancer for National Public Radio and a number of regional public radio stations, including WBUR in Boston and NHPR in New Hampshire.