A couple of years ago, there was a full-page ad in the paper featuring a smiling woman touting more money for schools. But Mainers figured out that she was a model for an agent of an out-of-state gambling operation aiming to siphon big bucks from Mainers’ wallets — and rejected the proposal by a large majority.
This year, there was a full-page ad in the paper touting a “clean” energy project. It was accompanied by a long letter from the public relations person at Hydro-Quebec, a crown corporation of the Province of Quebec, Canada. Together with Central Maine Power (rated by J.D. Power, an independent research company, as the worst utility in America three years in a row) and owned by the Spanish giant corporation Iberdrola, Hydro proposes to pull many billions out of Massachusetts by ramming a wide extension cord through Maine’s wilderness — through some of the most scenic parts of our wilderness, through the beauty that draws the visitors who power much of our economy. A permanent clear-cut, destroying a huge carbon capture sink. For the long-distance transmission of electricity that loses, as heat (just what we don’t need), a significant part of its power.
Under questioning, Hydro acknowledged that it is not creating clean energy, but merely shifting electricity from elsewhere, and also acknowledged that the deal will force it to burn fossil fuel to maintain its contracts in Quebec. The Massachusetts attorney general also acknowledged that this is not a clean energy project.
Under questioning, the chairwoman of Hydro said that it is OK for Hydro to spend tens of millions to influence Maine voters, but not OK for Mainers to vote on Maine projects.
Iberdrola and Hydro-Quebec talk about jobs for Mainers, but those are short-term and have mostly gone to workers from Wisconsin. In the longer run, the project would crowd out of the grid real clean energy projects that Mainers are currently busy creating.
And, when the multibillion-dollar contract is over, guess who will have to clean up the mess?
When it comes time to vote in November, remember the smiling woman fronting for gambling. The “clean” energy corridor is anything but.