The debate about whether Central Maine Power should be able to pipe hydroelectricity from Canada to Massachusetts through a new 145-mile transmission line corridor in western Maine boiled over this week as opponents and proponents argued about issues near and dear to Mainers: jobs, affordable energy, nature’s beauty and climate change.
This week, parties on both sides of the issue held a series of meetings and other forums that presented Mainers with the key issues in the debate, and how they might affect individuals’ rates, property taxes and views out their windows.
The events set the stage for the first of four meetings starting Friday at the Maine Public Utilities Commission, one of the regulators that must approve the New England Clean Energy Connect project.
“The hearings that start Friday are to hear from and ask questions of the witnesses from the parties in the case,” said Harry Lanphear, the commission’s administrative director. The witnesses and intervenors formally applied for standing to comment during the case and present information for the commissioners to consider as they weigh whether to approve the $950 million project.
In the meantime, the PUC continues to receive a flurry of submissions on its website, with more than 100 public comments added since mid-September to total 438 as of mid-afternoon Thursday.
Following other hearings throughout November, the PUC expects to issue an Examiner’s Report on Dec. 7 about its findings. CMP must that prove the project provides a public benefit.