October 21, 2018
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Maine regulators invite more public comment on CMP hydro project

Lori Valigra | BDN
Lori Valigra | BDN
The Maine Public Utilities Commission on Friday ordered Central Maine Power to make redacted versions of certain confidential documents public per the request of the Maine Public Advocate.

The Maine Public Utilities Commission will hold the last of three hearings to let the public comment on Central Maine Power Co.’s proposed hydropower project.

The meeting will be held Wednesday, Oct. 17, at the PUC’s office in Hallowell at 5 p.m.

It follows two other public witness hearings on Sept. 14, one in Farmington and one in The Forks plantation. Transcripts of those meetings are on the PUC’s website under docket number 2017-00232.

The project has been controversial as some residents, municipal officials and environmental groups have expressed concerns that visible infrastructure in remote and often pristine wilderness areas will mar the landscape and negatively affect tourism. Others have questioned its economic benefits to the state. Still others have supported it for potentially providing an increased tax base and jobs.

To date, the PUC has received 370 public comments about the project.

The Oct. 17 meeting is one of several forthcoming milestones for the project, John Carroll, a spokesman for CMP’s parent company, Avangrid, told the Bangor Daily News last week. It will pump hydroelectric power down a 145-mile corridor from Canada to Lewiston through western Maine and supply electricity to Massachusetts.

The PUC said in a public announcement that the hearing will let attendees comment on CMP’s petition for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, or CPCN, for the proposed New England Clean Energy Connect Project, also called the NECEC.

The public witness hearing will take place in the Commission’s Worster Room, at 101 Second St. in Hallowell.

The regulatory agency’s three commissioners, staff and a transcriptionist will attend.

Any member of the public may participate in the meeting by providing sworn testimony or they may present an argument without being sworn. However, only sworn testimony becomes evidence in the case. The hearing transcript will be available on the PUC’s website.

The second big milestone will come Oct. 19, 22, 30 and 31 during hearings from intervenor parties in the NECEC case. Avangrid’s Carroll said it will be the first time PUC commissioners will be able to establish a basis of facts about the project.

The PUC examiners’ report is due to be released Dec. 7.

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