I have taken a long time to come to this decision about ME Ballot Question 1:
“Do you want to ban the construction of high-impact electric transmission lines in the Upper Kennebec Region and to require the Legislature to approve all other such projects anywhere in Maine, both retroactively to 2020, and to require the Legislature, retroactively to 2014, to approve by a two-thirds vote such projects using public land?”
There have been lots of ads on both sides of the issue, funded by both earnest and questionable sources. Both sides backed by local earnest well-meaning people and megacorps with millions if not billions of dollars on the line over the next 20 years. So, which side is right? Which choice is better? For that matter, is Hydro Quebec’s power generation really a clean energy?
However, what decided for me is that I note that over the last month or so, they have given up on arguing for the corridor on its own merits and gone over to what I can only describe as bad-faith arguments about the wording of the question.
One argument is the retroactivity clause. “Say no to retroactive laws”, as if they are afraid that this will set a precedent. The precedent was set no later than 1870, according to the Portsmouth Press Herald.
Another argument is that it forces the decision about public land use changes out of the hands of the experts in the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and into a political decision of the Legislature. Well, the fact of the matter is that is already how it’s supposed to be. The Dept of Ag, etc, conduct their studies and then make their recommendations to the Legislature. That was not done this time because former Governor LePage made a closed-door agreement with CMP WITHOUT the Legislature’s input, and possibly without their knowledge.
The Corridor is already illegal on the face of it and should be repealed. This is why I am voting YES on Maine question 1.
On top of that, Vermont has an approved corridor mapped out with all of the proper legal procedures followed. The Vermont plan is entirely within existing right of way corridors, and most, if not all, of the lines will be underground thus eliminating the prospect of power-line sparked forest fires like the kind that Pacific Gas And Electric’s lines have been doing the last few years in California. If this electricity is needed, the Vermont path is the superior choice.