Public Hearing on the proposed New England Clean Energy Connect

March 25, 2019

The New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) was selected in a Massachusetts process intended to bring in renewable energy to the state and reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. The proposed powerline project would bring hydropower from Quebec to Massachusetts using a 145-mile above-ground High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission line. The power line would run from Beattie Township along the Canadian border to an interconnection point in Lewiston, Maine.  It would include 53.5 miles of a new, 150-foot-wide cleared corridor through undeveloped forest, while the remaining 91.5 miles would be co-located within existing transmission corridors but would entail widening of the corridor in many areas.

In early April, the proposed New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) project will have a series of hearings in Farmington where Central Maine Power Company’s plans will be vetted before the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and Land Use Planning Committee. These hearings will allow these two agencies to review the proposal and hear from a variety of stakeholders.

The public has been invited to weigh in on Thursday, April 4th at 6:00 pm at the Lincoln Auditorium at the University of Maine Farmington. Please join AMC and express your concerns about the proposed NECEC project.

The hearing topics that will be covered on Thursday evening include:

  • Potential impacts to the scenic character and existing uses;
  • Potential impacts to wildlife habitat and fisheries;
  • Alternatives analysis;
  • Proposed compensation for impacts and mitigation of impacts

The agencies have advised members of the public to offer testimony relevant to those four topics. There is a three-minute time limit for members of the public to deliver comments.

In preparing your comments, you may want to consider AMC’s position and concerns. AMC is opposed to the NECEC transmission line as currently proposed and has four primary concerns:

  • The significant scenic impact to the Kennebec Gorge, a nationally significant whitewater boating area whose value is recognized in a wide range of state laws and policies. On October 18, 2018, Central Maine Power notified Maine regulators that they now intend to bury the proposed transmission line under the Kennebec Gorge. While burying the line addresses our significant concern about visual impacts, AMC will be assessing other potential impacts of the proposed method for burial on natural resources.
  • The increased scenic impact to the Appalachian Trail.
  • The fragmenting impact of the new corridor through undeveloped forest of high ecological value and conservation interest.
  • The lack of evidence that the project will provide real greenhouse gas reduction benefits.

If you are unable to attend in person, questions or comments can be directed to DEP staff at 207-941-4570 or emailed to NECEC.DEP@maine.gov

Additional information regarding the Proposed Project is available at on the Maine DEP website.

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Kaitlyn Bernard

As the Maine Policy Manager, Kaitlyn Bernard tracks AMC’s key policy issues at the state and federal level. Her current policy priorities include the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), Maine’s stateside conservation fund the Land for Maine’s Future program, and wind power siting.