When the powerful agree on massive big $$$$$$ projects behind closed doors and begin their efforts to ram these projects down the public's throat, it is our experience from wind projects that most barriers to final approval somehow are eventually overcome by the developer.
However, along the way, the developer and his supporters repeatedly talk about these barriers which gives the affected citizens a false sense of hope. A lulling into complacency. At the same time the developers and their supporters are dishing out such false hope, they are furiously working behind the scenes, often working the decision makers, increasing the stranglehold on a favorable outcome which they believe is their right from their palatial estates in places such as New York, Boston and San Francisco.
The author of the piece below writes "........“perfect” is not an option and “ideal” is not commensurate with the challenges our electric grid faces." This would seem to imply that this massive transmission project and the massive feckless wind project it would enable solves challenges faced by the electric grid. In fact, these projects not only do not strengthen the electric grid but rather endanger it. As noted in Dan McKay's recent post at https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/we-are-headed-to-a-pla..., if these projects come to pass, Maine is headed over the cliff. These projects don't help the grid. These projects will break it.
The transmission and wind developers would like nothing more than complacency on the part of the people. The fact is, that the people of Maine who want this transmission project stopped, hold the power to do just that. But the very opposite of drawing false sustenance from the touted regulatory process must be the approach selected.
The following is about wind and how to fight it. It is written by a brilliant and highly educated man who learned the hard way how one must fight these things if they wish to succeed. I believe it is very applicable to the transmission fight. Some of the language is a little rough, but I do recommend that people read it and save themselves a tremendous amount of trouble.
Remember, the process is set up to help the developers, not the taxpayer, ratepayer or farmer who simply wants the peace and quiet that existed before these interlopers came to town.
Please read and consider this advice strongly.
November 30, 2023
LS Power faces lengthy process for proposed transmission line
Tyler Hadyniak is the chair of the Freedom Planning Board.
Since LS Power became a household name in July, I could talk to 10 different people and hear 10 different takes on what LS must do to begin construction of its proposed transmission line. I am chair of the town of Freedom Planning Board, the municipal body that will be tasked, like in many towns, with granting or denying an eventual permit application from LS Power in our community. I felt spurred to do my own research — which I present not as formal legal advice or the formal position of the board itself — to clarify the process LS Power faces.
Misconception No. 1: Once LS Power is granted a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the Public Utilities Commission, it will automatically be vested with the power to use eminent domain.
This is simply not true. LS must petition the utilities commission to approve any eminent domain requests — which is not allowed in many circumstances and carries an immensely high burden of proof.
Misconception No. 2: LS Power can be “suddenly” granted a certificate.
This is not true. LS should first complete their public outreach and alternative route selection, then they must apply for a certificate from the utilities commission. Before the commission grants a certificate, it must alert affected parties and municipalities and schedule a comment period and a public hearing.
Misconception No. 3: Once LS receives a certificate from the utilities commission, it can begin constructing its transmission line.
I’m sure LS wishes it was this easy. LS must at least do the following things before starting construction: receive a certificate from the commission; receive, or be denied, municipal permits; potentially ask the utilities commission to exempt it from local ordinances; get approval from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection; and get approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. All of these steps will have opportunity for comment and participation by concerned residents and formal intervenors...........................
..............................Personally, I hope this project succeeds and is narrowly tailored to do as little harm as practical to the environment and affected Mainers, keeping in mind that “perfect” is not an option and “ideal” is not commensurate with the challenges our electric grid faces. But LS has a long road ahead with many potential barriers. Like a sculptor who whittles away at undesirable chunks of stone, I trust our government processes will whittle away at undesirable aspects of this project to produce a final result that will fit Maine’s clean energy goals, yet have as little negative impact as practical. Being involved in those processes is how we, as concerned citizens, have input into what the final sculpture looks like.
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