My testimony at the Army Corps CMP hearing

The federal Army Corps of Engineers held a public hearing on CMP’s project to bring power from Quebec to Massachusetts through western Maine. I wrote testimony that my friend Jenn Gray delivered for me at the hearing, and I’m going to share it with you. Here it is.

CMP Project Army Corps of Engineering Hearing Testimony, December 5, 2019

CMP’s plan to bring power through Maine from Quebec and deliver it to Massachusetts would be an environmental disaster.

I’ve written three newspaper columns expressing my opposition to allowing Central Maine Power to devastate western Maine, a place where I’ve done quite a bit of hunting and fishing and appreciated the beautiful forests, lakes, streams, mountains, sporting camps, and small towns full of friendly people.

Lots of people joined my wife, Linda, and me, including tourists, to drive through that area in October enjoying the mountains, lakes, and stunning colors of the forests. And trust me, those views will never be the same if CMP plows its way through those beautiful forests and over those wonderful mountains. I’ve also seen the devastation that Hydro-Quebec’s supposedly green dams and impoundments has caused in Canada, including on tribal lands. Maine should not reward Hydro-Quebec for this destruction by sending it even more money.

We all know and appreciate what makes Maine such a special place, and over the years, we have done a lot to preserve and protect the very best of Maine. I have always been proud of the work I did to help create the Land for Maine’s Future fund, which has been used very effectively to protect, for all time, some of our very special places, some of which, like the Cold Stream Forest, would be harmed by the CMP project.

What do we love about Maine? For me, it’s the woods, brooks, streams, ponds, lakes, hills and mountains, rural Maine towns, fish and wildlife from native brook trout to deer, moose and bears, and yes I love the coast as well, particularly Down East in Lubec and Cutler, where much of the oceanside is undeveloped and available for hiking and enjoyment by anyone. And please note, it’s the undeveloped land and woods and the wonderful habitat for fish and wildlife that I think are our most valuable assets.

Why would we want to allow CMP to wreck its way through some of our finest woods and waters, hills and mountains, and rural towns, displacing everything from moose to brook trout, and ruining Maine, the way life should be?

CMP’s biggest false promise is that this project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It won’t. Hydro-Quebec isn’t building any new generating facilities for this project, and all the electricity it makes now is sold to other markets. Massachusetts is just inexplicably willing to pay more for it. If Hydro-Quebec and CMP shift electricity sales from other markets like Ontario, New York, and New Brunswick to Massachusetts, those places would need to make up for lost power quickly. The only way they could do that is with fossil fuels like natural gas and coal, offsetting any reductions in emissions in New England due to the CMP corridor. The CMP corridor is a shell game; it is robbing Peter to pay Paul.

New Hampshire rejected a very similar proposal to the CMP corridor, called Northern Pass, due to overstated economic benefits and underestimated environmental risks. New Hampshire also concluded that there was no evidence that Northern Pass would reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

They understood that the line would severely harm their beautiful White Mountains. Why would Maine find any of this acceptable? Do we think the area CMP would go through is less beautiful and important than the White Mountains?

I urge the Army Corps to reject CMP’s permit application for this destructive proposal.

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.