Maine anti-corridor group hit with ethics complaint that could force it to disclose donors

By Michael Shepherd, BDN Staff • January 17, 2020 3:49 pm
Updated: January 17, 2020 4:21 pm

AUGUSTA, Maine — A dark-money group that has aired ads opposing Central Maine Power’s proposed hydropower corridor was hit with a Friday ethics complaint by a political committee funded by the utility in a move that could force the group to disclose donors.

It’s the second ethics complaint in the nascent campaign over the $1 billion corridor that would take Hydro-Quebec power to the regional grid with a 145-mile transmission line through western Maine as opponents collect signatures to put a question on the 2020 ballot to kill the project, which has won two required permits from regulators and awaits others.

During the final three months of 2019, CMP dumped $2.3 million into a political committee opposing the referendum bid. On Friday, that committee, Clean Energy Matters, filed a complaint with the Maine Ethics Commission against Stop the Corridor, a nonprofit that has not disclosed donors and has run $1.3 million in TV and Facebook ads against the project.

Filings with the commission indicate that Stop the Corridor gave nearly $50,000 in in-kind contributions to a political committee run by project opponents. That committee, No CMP Corridor, raised more than $26,000 in other contributions by December’s end.

The complaint alleges Stop the Corridor violated Maine law that makes entities register as political committees if they raise or spend more than $1,500 in a calendar year to influence a political campaign and that is its major purpose. If the nonprofit is forced to register as a political committee, it would have to disclose past donors and it could pay a fine.

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Comment by Stephen Littlefield on January 19, 2020 at 10:41am

Excellent explanation Art, now add to that the political aspect. Mills threw her support of the corridor as a false flag event, to stir up the hyperbole. As the meltdown occurred she and her regime quietly pushed through with the cover of the leftist news organizations much of the of the needed legislation and expedited permitting for big wind! So many were watching one hand while the other stabbed the citizens in the back, for the profits of a few. Now who those few are is to me still in question thou I doubt that Mills will retire a vagrant. Just thoughts to ponder on the evils of this regime.

Comment by Art Brigades on January 18, 2020 at 11:08pm

There will be little surprise when/if the actual sources of dark money are disclosed. Whether they've hidden themselves adequately or they're up front about it, the donors are previously on the record at PUC as against the power line. They've just moved on from that loss to a new venue.

1.  NextEra. They own Seabrook power plant, which stands to lose tens of millions every year when NECEC drives down the price of energy in the ISO-NE. NextEra also owns the Wyman Station oil-fired power plant on an island in Casco Bay. This plant is seldom called upon to fire-up, but when the call is made, it's usually when the spot price has risen from 3 cents to up over 30 cents per kWh.

2. Maine Renewable Energy Association, backed by the National REA, which is almost all comprised of Big Wind contributors. What Big Wind fears the most is Big Hydro.

3. CalPine, which owns the Westbrook natural gas plant. These guys produce 1/3 the energy they did a decade ago, and they don't want to take any more haircuts.

4.  Natural Gas plants similar to #3 located in Rumford and Veazie, for the same reasons.  

5. Anyone, including all of the above, who is feeding at the trough of capacity payments, which sometimes bring more revenue to a generator than actual generation brings. 

6.  Not NRCM, League of Conservation Voters, Sierra and Audubon (none of which can spend much on political campaigns) so much as the high-roller individuals who bankroll those nonprofits. Note that Conservation Law Foundation parted ways with those "enviro" groups and decided to support the project after succeeding at extracting a lot of benefits for Mainers.

7. CMP haters who are led by Senator Seth Berry. They have plenty to hate, and this skirmish is a convenient situation for NECEC opponents seeking allies.

Comment by Pineo Girl on January 18, 2020 at 10:08pm

Wow ! Thank you!  What you are saying is 3/4 of those old growth trees are all ready gone!  It is a known fact that this corridor is not merely for hydropower! And there is no need to lecture those of us who have been fighting wind power since its beginning in Maine that not only are mountains and ridgelines being destroyed, but also birds and bats slaughtered!

As Shakespeare would have said my friend...Me thinks thou hath just disclosed yourself for what you are... 

Comment by Stephen Littlefield on January 18, 2020 at 9:47pm

The problem is you only listen to youself, 3/4 of the corridor already exists with hydro there is no need for any polluting windmills on land or sea! Stop the propaganda and do some real reseach, big wind is financing the stop the corridor they are the real destroyers of the environment with their chinese turbines full of PCB ladened oil, slaughtering eagle hawks and bats. Windpower is useless and the developers wouldn't build any with out huge subsides from taxpayers because they are actually unprofitable! And as I've said they are destroying more wilderness than two corridors for unreliable power that replaces nothing! Do the research!

Comment by Pineo Girl on January 18, 2020 at 9:30pm

CMP ads minimize the amount of forest and lands being taken for this "green" corridor!  Exactly how many "old growth"  trees will be cut down by this environmental 'clean energy" corridor?  Hmmm  175 miles and 300 feet wide is 6363+ acres.  Most old growth forest acreage supports 250 trees per acre ..250 trees who eat 47 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. That's nearly 1.6 million trees that eat almost 70 million pounds of carbon a year! 

This aside...This corridor is through some of the most beloved pats of the Maine woods. It is not happening for the good of all, it is being built not by CMP, but by a new separate LLC of Avengrid, Iberdrola's US holding company... It is supposedly being built to bring hydropower to southern New England, but do not be fooled!  Most New England states have moved on, realizing that onshore wind has failed to produce enough power to meet their renewable energy requirements and hydropower from Quebec is not endless.  These states now have a focus on off shore wind, which satisfies both a renewable energy mandate and a job creation economic benefit.  Ask yourself... with that scenario, who will then have to buy that energy...and at what price?  In the end perhaps that is really the scheme, plus, if more wind turbines are built in Maine, the corridor is wide enough to build a separate line for wind power.  is that in truth part of the end game?  Exploiting Maine's mountains and ridge lines again?

Comment by Stephen Littlefield on January 18, 2020 at 8:48pm

Thank you for proving my point on disinformation your bloviating of propaganda is the drumbeat that the big wind has been spreading to protect their fraud project destroying mountains and 19's of thousands of acres of wilderness for windmills that will never pay for themselves and cost taxpayers and ratepayers 4x as much as Hydro. And that's above and beyond the destruction of wildreness, yeah, heck of a deal!

Comment by Pineo Girl on January 18, 2020 at 8:21pm

Really? Dark Money?  A Rockefeller Foundation NGO focused on the environment, worldwide human wellness, sustainable food systems for all, innovation, and clean energy is now  "dark money"???

How low will those who are making millions exploiting us in the name of "climate change" go?  Penny - you are correct...Our media in Maine will not allow any voice that does not promote their narrative to be heard!  What CMP knows is the Stop the Corridor initiative is winning.  This is just a sleazy tactic by CMP to bloody the group up and try to prevent the referendum initiative for succeeding. They are mischaracterizing completely the goal of the group and their supporters! This is disgusting and if there is anyone out there who hasn't signed the referendum petition and wants to, please let me know!

Comment by Stephen Littlefield on January 18, 2020 at 6:12pm

They jump to whatever the left envio-terrorists tell to be for or against, there is little independent news in Maine or America today. Much like the bill Senator Vitelli is pushing for electric school buses, there is so much wrong with that from never paying for the added near 100k to being unable to travel to and from sports away games. The media is silent!

Comment by Penny Gray on January 18, 2020 at 6:01pm

I blame the media for snowing people this way.  Yes, wind power is more destructive by far than anything CMP is proposing with the CEC, but you won't hear a peep against industrial wind from any of the news sources in Maine.  Are they on the take, or just ignorant?

Comment by Stephen Littlefield on January 18, 2020 at 5:47pm

Penny I believe your point is absolutely valid! There is only 53 miles of new powerline corridor to be cut, the rest already exists. On the other hand Maine is looking at 10's of thousand of acres of wilderness clearcut for access roads, their powerline corridors for each windmill, and the destruction of countless mountaintops! Not saying anything is perfect, but, that electricity going to the grid feeds Maine as well as much of New England. The whole stop the corridor effort is a fraud financed by outside money!

Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."


Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power


Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT


(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.”

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