Voting day is coming right up on Nov. 2, and letters are already coming in both for and against state referendum 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?”
This question addresses what’s commonly called the CMP Corridor. Or New England Clean Energy Connect. In either case, Hydro-Quebec wants to build a transmission line through Maine to Massachusetts.
I am going to leave it at that basic level of my personal understanding.
The word “retroactive” is so hot in television ads it may as well be “radioactive.” However, Question 1 is about revisiting an approval process, not a law-making one.
I cannot parse all the nuances of what the CMP Corridor means for the state. I am neither a power supply expert nor an environmental one. The extent of my knowledge of Hydro-Quebec is the bill I transferred money to my son to pay when he was a student in Montreal. I have nothing against Massachusetts.
All of which to say that to make an informed vote on Nov. 2, I need to learn more.
For starters, what does the CMP Corridor have to do with Lincoln County?
According to a map produced by the Natural Resources Council of Maine, a portion of the CMP Corridor, if construction of it continues, will run a new 345kV line along an established route connecting a substation in Coopers Mills to a substation in Wiscasset, running through Whitefield and Alna.
Nate Poole, The Lincoln County News beat reporter for that area, confirms that Whitefield, Alna, and Wiscasset planning boards approved the project.
There are three opportunities to deepen our understanding of Question 1 in the next week.
James LaBrecque, a professional engineer specializing in energy control technology will speak about the issue from 5 to 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 11, at Wells-Hussey American Legion Post 42, 527 Main St., Damariscotta.
I am not sure who is sponsoring Mr. LaBrecque, but the news release urges attendees to “bring a snack and non-alcoholic beverage to keep the atmosphere relaxed and reasoned.”
I recommend cookies.
For those who cannot make it to an in-person event, there are two online opportunities to learn more about the CMP Corridor.
The Bangor Daily News, LCN’s media partner, is hosting a webinar called, “What You Need to Know About the Transmission Line Referendum,” at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13.
Editorial page editor Susan Young and assistant editorial page editor Matt Junker will moderate “a panel of representatives from both sides of Question 1, the transmission line corridor referendum, to help bring clarity and insight into the vote and what you need to know to make an informed decision in November,” according to the registration page.
Guests include Adam Cote and Sandi Howard on the “yes” side, and Andrienne Bennett and Benjamin Dudley on the “no” side.
For more information, got to the events section of bangordailynews.com.
A Lincoln County Community Conversations event titled, “Views from Both Ends of the CMP Corridor,” will take place from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 14. Learn more at lincolncountydemocrats.com.
If you have questions and comments, you should submit them in advance using an online form found on the website. The event will be recorded.
For more information, contact John at email@example.com or 529-6502.
If you cannot make it to one of these events, I urge you to find other ways to learn more than what advertisements project when deciding how to vote on state referendum question 1.