Boston, MA (October 14, 2021)—The Appalachian Mountain Club announced today its support for Maine’s Ballot Question #1 to stop the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) power transmission corridor. The proposed project would establish a 145-mile long above-ground transmission line from Quebec to Massachusetts, crossing through Maine, with 53 miles requiring a new, 150-footwide corridor to be cut through the undeveloped forest, including a crossing beneath the Kennebec Gorge. AMC has long opposed the project.
“We encourage AMC’s Maine members to vote Yes on 1,” said AMC President & CEO John Judge “The corridor will fragment Maine’s forest, harming important wildlife habitat and degrading water quality without a guaranteed reduction of the pollution that causes climate change.”
AMC first engaged as an intervenor in the joint review process of the proposed NECEC before the Land Use Planning Commission and the Department of Environmental Protection. Senior Staff Scientist and Assistant Director of Research David Publicover focused on the harmful impact of forest fragmentation and the “edge effect,” the fundamental alteration of the ecosystem that takes place when forests are exposed to more sunlight.
AMC also joined with Sierra Club Maine and the Natural Resources Council of Maine to bring a lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers for issuing a permit without conducting a full Environmental Impact Statement, as they did for similar projects in New Hampshire and Vermont.
“Maine’s forest sits at the heart of the most intact ecoregion east of the Mississippi,” said AMC Vice President for Conservation Susan Arnold “It shelters a wide variety of plants and animals while cleaning our air and water. It can help us mitigate and adapt to climate change if we leave it intact.”
AMC has consistently opposed the lease to allow the NECEC to cross a parcel of public land, substantially altering it without the legislative approval called for in Maine’s constitution. “Maine’s public lands are extraordinary assets and we must not take them for granted,” said AMC Board President and Falmouth resident Elizabeth Ehrenfeld “If this parcel of land can be altered without legislative approval, that can happen to other gems like Deboullie, Donnell Pond, or Tumbledown.”
AMC decided to endorse Yes on #1 after answering questions about the retroactive aspect of the question. Maine’s Supreme Court has upheld retroactive disapprovals of real estate developments and the Maine Legislature has enacted retroactive statutes more than 180 times.
Founded in 1876, AMC is the nation’s oldest conservation, recreation, and education organization, with the mission to foster the protection, enjoyment and understanding of the outdoors. AMC has 6,500 members in Maine, and own 75,000 acres of forestland in the 100-Mile Wilderness region of Piscataquis County, managed for multiple use including sustainable forestry, backcountry recreation, and environmental education.