.BANGOR- Plans for an international energy transmission line continue to stir up controversy.
Those for and against Central Maine Power’s proposed New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) project filled a hearing in Bangor Thursday.
The project consists of a 145-mile transmission line running from Quebec to Lewiston
“It’s responsive to a request of a proposal to bring new clean energy in. That’s what this project is all about. It’s about providing new clean energy to reduce greenhouse gases to deal with what many people think as an existential risk for our children and grandchildren,” said Thorn Dickinson, the Vice President of Business Development at Avangrid Networks, the parent company of Central Maine Power .
Dickinson also stated Maine will receive a transplant of new energy.
“New clean energy from Quebec will be brought in deposited right here in Maine. What that energy will do is displace dirtier oil and natural gas. And that displacement of energy will result in a drop of between 3 and 3.6 million metric tons of carbon, which is about taking 700,000 cars off the road a year,” Dickinson said.
One opponent of the project, Monica McCarthy, said the corridor is a 2200 acre clear cut through forests statewide.
“It crosses 115 streams, 53 vernal pools, numerous wetlands, brook-trout habitats, habitats for pine martins and deer, I mean just things that are a critical part of our food chain,” McCarthy said.
Brook Trout Project Driector of Trout Unlimited Jeff Reardon, said the project will have a large negative impact on the ecosystem it touches.
“We do not believe C.M.P. has done an adequate job of minimizing their impacts on the streams they’ll cross along that corridor,” Reardon said.
But the project manager says the benefits more than outweigh the risks.
“There has to be a careful balancing between some of the impacts associated with the project and then the substantial benefits that are there. And I think when people take a look at the benefits versus some of the impacts then people come to the conclusion that Maine wins,” Dickinson said.