The largest union at Bath Iron Works said Tuesday that is opposes a proposed $1 billion hydropower project in western Maine, claiming it will eliminate local jobs.
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local S6, which represents 3,600 workers, voted at its meeting on June 22 to pass a resolution opposing Central Maine Power’s proposed New England Clean Energy Connect transmission project.
That project would run from Canada through western Maine and provide energy to Massachusetts.
While CMP has claimed the project will support 1,600 jobs, opponents question whether the jobs will be long term.
Local S6 of the Machinists Union represents shipbuilders and other professions not directly related to the hydropower project. The June 22 vote follows a similar one earlier in the same month by the United Steelworker’s Maine Labor Council to oppose the project, also based on concerns about jobs.
“While this project may create some short-term construction jobs, this 145-mile high voltage line threatens many more permanent jobs in Maine’s growing renewable energy sector as well as good union jobs at the state’s power generation facilities,” Mike Keenan, president of Local S6, said in a prepared statement.
“Given CMP’s recent billing scandal and its long history of misleading the public, we are also very skeptical of the company’s claims that the project will deliver on its claims,” he said.
“The [Maine] Public Utilities Commission gave careful consideration to the economic costs and benefits of the NECEC in Maine, including the impacts of lower energy prices and transmission congestion on in-state generators, renewable energy development and the jobs associated with those industries,” a CMP spokesman wrote in an emailed response.
“The generator companies will lose money from lower energy prices, but the PUC concluded those lower prices are not a risk to the jobs BIW-S6 is concerned with,” he said.