On Nov. 2, one of the most controversial and expensive referendum elections that Maine has ever seen to this day will be voted on, and one question in particular, is creating polarity throughout the state. Question one of the ballot reads:
“Do you want to ban the construction of high-impact electric transmission lines in the Upper Kennebec Region and to require the Legislature to approve all other such projects anywhere in Maine, both retroactively to 2020, and to require the Legislature, retroactively to 2014, to approve by a two-thirds vote such projects using public land?”
Essentially, the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) is a potential 145 mile, high voltage pipeline designed to transmit up to 1,200 megawatts of power from hydroelectric plants in Quebec to electric companies in Massachusetts and Maine.
This question is intentionally confusing in its wording, as contrary to what one would expect.yes is a vote to block the construction of the pipeline, whereas no is a vote for construction to commence. Because this is considered a “substantial alteration” of public land, the referendum must be approved by ⅔ of the members of all houses of the legislature in order to pass.
Between supporters and opponents of this referendum, unprecedented amounts of money have been raised around this issue. As of now, 93.98 million dollars has been spent on election advertising, making it the most expensive ballot movement in Maine history.
Supporters of the construction of the CMP pipeline, led by Clean Energy Matters, ensure that the construction of the pipeline will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the area drastically.
Corridor opposers, led by No CMP Corridor, NextERA, and Mainers For Local Power, believe that the construction of this pipeline is merely a greenwashing scheme and that it will tarnish the untouched North Woods region.
If you are a registered Maine voter, I first encourage you to use your voice. Whatever opinion you may hold, there is power in it and it is a waste of potential to not act upon this power.
Second, I ask you to take a look outside. Take a moment to appreciate this glorious Maine fall and this beautiful, but threatened state that we get to call home. I ask you to consider wildlife, consider this fragile ecosystem and consider all the joy that this space has brought you.
The construction of this pipeline is promised to threaten this space that we, and so many other animals and species are lucky enough to call home, and I ask you to vote with that thought in the front of your mind.
Beyond this, the construction of this pipeline is sure to pose a tangible threat to business leases, which would likely be “rendered void if this referendum passes”, according to retired Maine supreme court chief justice Dan Warthen.
The construction, or lack thereof, of this pipeline, will be incredibly impactful towards the well-being of both Maine’s wildlife and economy, and with that, I ask you; what side of Maine history do you want to be on?