New England Clean Power Connection Project offers to go under the Kennebec Gorge

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Sep 3, 2003
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Gorham NH
Starting to sound kind a similar to the Northern Pass project. Local Utility that long ago sold out to an out of the region major corporation decides to run an overhead transmission line through a large swath of nearly undeveloped forest to supply power from Hydro Quebec to Massachusetts. The host state gets few if any long term benefits from having a new major power line right of way run through mostly undeveloped forestland. The project is hyped to the locals using the short term economic boom, with a person closely connected to the company that most likely will get the majority of the work running ads on how good it will be for the state. Various claims are made how the project will somehow improve the Maine power grid and make it greener while every bit of the power carried by the line is committed to Mass.

It also proposes to run a set of overhead lines over a particularly scenic wild natural area (Kennebec River Gorge). The utility initially attempts to soft sell the project but as opposition firms up they start the back room dealing including proposing to create a "non profit" corporation to mitigate the impact of the project. The proposed non profit corporation to be funded by the utility at different levels of support depending if the power project gets its way on avoiding very costly tunneling of the powerline in the vicinity of the scenic wild natural area. The proposed funding amount is trivial compared to the potential cost of tunneling.

Fast forward a bit to the start of public hearings where the public opposition is present and the public is starting to question the project and permitting could be far less likely. Just in time to catch the media cycle the utility graciously offers to tunnel the lines under the gorge.

I guess its a race to the bottom on which border state sells out. I expect the majority of the regional outdoors public would prefer it in Maine as its more than the 2 to 3 hour drive out of Mass that Northern Pass was.