Only five companies have spent $ 96.3 million over the past two years fighting over a power line in northern Maine that will face a showdown on ballot boxes next week. A long-distance transmission line running through miles of sparsely populated forest may not seem like such a big deal, but the problem has consequences far beyond the borders of Maine.
The fight was so controversial that Mainer was part-time Tucker Carlson measured himself. And it was so weird that, unlikely reliable shit the climate denier has actually sided with environmentalists who oppose the project. He will get a vote next week.
The focus of all this money and strange friends is the proposed 145-mile (233-kilometer) transmission line owned by local company Central Maine Power (CMP). The line would run through northern Maine, connecting Canada-produced hydropower to the Massachusetts grid to help the state meet its clean energy goals. Building a billion-dollar corridor actually started in February. But the transmission line is the focus of a November 2 voting initiative that could kill the project. (An additional attempt to put a dash on last year ‘s vote was considered unconstitutional.)
As Utility Dive logged in, the financial struggle for the fate of Maine’s forests is largely fueled by only five companies on different sides of the issue. Avangrid, the owner of CMP, and Hydro-Québec, which owns a hydroelectric plant at the other end of the line, are investing money in campaigns to keep the project alive. The duo only spent $ 66.5 million on PACs fighting voting measures (a “yes” vote would kill the project). The project would be a huge win for these two entities: Hydro-Québec could earn $ 490 million a year from the line alone, which would supply about 8% of the electricity used in New England.
On the other hand, NextEra Energy Resources, one of the largest companies in the country; Calpine, a natural gas company; and Vistra, a Texas-based energy company, are spending heavily to defeat the line. Together, they invested $ 24 million in a separate PAC. A spokesman for CMP’s lobbying branch told Earther in May that all three companies own oil, natural gas and nuclear power plants in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. The project could reduce energy and capacity prices in the region, Utility Dive reported, which would pose a problem for their end result.
It’s almost $ 100 million a lot money for Maine. The Bangor Daily News logged in that the money added in the past three weeks alone – $ 24 million – makes the fight the most expensive referendum campaign in Maine in history. By comparison, oil companies spent $ 31.5 million total to kill the carbon tax referendum in Washington state 2018. Overall, the CMP struggle is the second most expensive political campaign in the state’s history, behind just last year a nationally contentious fight for the Senate between Senator Susan Collins and her Democrat.
All this money is being thrown at something that has caused real local tension in Maine. It has been suggested that the line run through 53 miles of North Woods in Maine, a Plot of 3.5 million hectares it is the largest undeveloped forest in the eastern United States. Environmental groups have expressed concern about how the project will affect endangered brown trout living in rivers along the proposed route. Locals have expressed concern that construction would harm tourism in North Woods, a vital industry in the region. The cities claimed that the CMP did not adequately consult them on the project, and that the project was in fact stopped some local renewable energy projects in the area from moving forward. Some environmentalists also claim that the hydropower that would be obtained from Quebec is not so clean as it was done. The fact that the transmission line will send clean energy to Maine’s richer neighbor in the south, rather than the state, adds another layer of tension.
These are real, difficult conversations about how local communities can be disrupted by major energy projects and trade-offs between conservation at the local level and halting catastrophic climate change on a larger scale. But, as the campaign finance data shows, they are, in fact, being snatched by corporate money from both sides for their own interests. The Carlson segment, which aired in May, illustrates how bad actors can use these issues to portray renewable energy as a whole in a negative light.
“This corridor is more than an energy project – it’s an attack on rural America and the people who live there,” Carlson said in his segment. Not exactly what is happening, but given the huge amount Since it is spent on this one rural part of America, it is no wonder that people question their motives.
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