To the Editor:
I am writing to respond to Richard Aishton’s letter (Aug. 5) and to further clarify the facts about the New England Clean Energy Corridor, which has already been approved and is in progress as I write.
It’s not the role of the Public Utility Commission (PUC) to consider environmental protection laws in detail – that’s the role of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Army Corps of Engineers, which did conduct an environmental assessment (EA). While the EA is less intensive than an environmental impact statement (EIS), two federal courts have rejected legal challenges by groups like the Sierra Club.
Hydro Quebec reservoirs do not emit large amounts of methane, as peer-reviewed science demonstrates.
The regulatory proceedings have been about the construction of a transmission line in Maine. There is nothing unusual about a power generator (who is proposing to build no new generating facilities to supply this contract, and if they were, the facilities would be in Canada) refraining from offering sworn testimony during the permitting process for transmission line construction. Notably, at no point did even the Natural Resources Council of Maine offer sworn testimony.
The PUC reviewed the project over 18 months, the LUPC for two years, the DEP for 29 months, the Army Corps and the U.S. Dept. of Energy reviewed it for three years each, the Maine Supreme Court considered and rejected an appeal of the PUC permit, two federal courts considered and rejected injunction motions over the Army Corps permit – if that’s not well-vetted, nothing is.
As Richard Aishton states in his letter, it is deliberate – and effective! – public policy that seeks to harness profit motives of private industry to serve the public interest of clean energy development. The result: hundreds of good-paying jobs for Mainers, lower energy costs, substantial new revenues for towns along the corridor (already playing out in tax revenue), tens of thousands of acres of new conservation land, and enough clean energy to displace over 3 million tons of carbon pollution every year for at least 20 years.