It’s sometimes said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I’m sure that many of the people who voted “yes” on Question 1 had very good intentions relating to the environment. The result, however, may be quite different to what was intended.
If you have been hiking on MDI during a day of bad air quality you will have seen smog coming up the East Coast, partly originating in Massachusetts. I understand that some of the most polluted air in Maine has been recorded in Acadia National Park. Anything we can do to reduce emissions from Massachusetts will benefit Maine’s air quality, which in turn is better for people’s heath and that of the flora and fauna.
Let’s put aside for the moment the commercial interests, which were evident on both sides of Question 1, including those environmental groups that adhere to their mindless mantra of conservation at all costs. Would these groups have advocated conservation of the ice sheet covering Maine 10,000 years ago? Instead, let’s talk about ecology and management of the environment.
It’s generally acknowledged that we have passed beyond the point where fine-tuning is going to save the environment. What’s needed is large-scale and immediate change to deploy new energy sources that are less polluting, and to reduce energy consumption overall. If in this process we need to put in new power lines or similar infrastructure, then that is what a desperate remedy to a desperate problem looks like in the real world. If we shy away from such solutions, we are just delaying the inevitable fixes that will need to be made and making the situation worse.
Rather than hampering Massachusetts in implementing their solution, we should be encouraging them and in addition implementing our own, Maine solutions. Voting “yes” on Question 1 and then going home and throwing more logs on a highly polluting wood stove, because it’s the only energy source you can afford, is not a solution — it’s part of the problem of not seeing the wood for the trees.