Opponents of Central Maine Power's proposed 145-mile transmission line are calling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct an in-depth environmental review of the project.
The federal agency has scheduled a public hearing in Lewiston Thursday evening as it reviews whether to issue permits for the project, which would cut through about 50 miles of western Maine's forests to provide hydropower from Quebec to Massachusetts.
At a press conference before the hearing, Democratic state Sen. Brownie Carson of Harpswell said he opposes the project, but that Maine residents at least deserve to see a comprehensive environmental review of its impacts.
“Only then will we know what the real costs and benefits would be of the project,” Carson said. “And what the harm would be to Maine's landscape, particularly the brook trout habitat and globally significant forests of western Maine.”
While Gov. Janet Mills voiced early support for the project, several communities along the proposed corridor have come out against it. Former Republican state Sen. Tom Saviello of Wilton said that in weighing the impacts of the project, many towns along the planned corridor have now withdrawn their support.
“The citizens of these towns realized the snake oil was a bad deal for Maine, a bad deal for their town, and just a plain bad deal,” said Saviello.
Opponents are also collecting thousands of signatures in an effort to put the power line proposal on a statewide ballot referendum.
Originally published Dec. 5, 2019 at 5:17 p.m. ET.