May 17, 2020-
I used to live in central Maine. On weekends, I would go either north or east, as a rule, exploring the further segments of New England’s largest state. One area that always impressed me was the North Woods- one of the largest stretches of unbroken forest, east of the Mississippi River. Even when I lived there, a small group of people, mainly Europeans, who didn’t understand why we “needed” so many trees, were agitating to cut down many of the trees and build something “useful” in the region-like second homes for people from more congested areas. We would hear how, in Europe, there was not this obsession with keeping the land “empty”. and people were just happy with less wilderness. (I did not get this feeling, when I visited some western European countries , in 2014, but there we are.)
So, it doesn’t surpise me to learn that a Spanish-owned company, Central Maine Power, is going to court, to force a clear-cut of a 53-mile swath, through the North Woods, for the purpose of building a “Clean Energy” transmission line, from the St. Lawrence River, in Quebec, to Massachusetts. The total line would run 145 miles, so a third of it would go through the North Woods. The width of the cleared path would be 300 feet across.
The Woods are owned by a timber company, which permits a wide variety of recreational uses throughout its property. The forest products industry stands to lose a fair amount of resource material, through the clear cut-even if CMP’s Spanish parent company pays a decent sum for its trouble. The loss to the environment would be even greater, with unknown damage to the lakes and rivers of the area.
Thus does another “New Age” company find itself in the position of being inimical to the very environment it purports to protect. Rather than bull their way through North America’s largest remaining temperate forest, the Spaniards may find it better to explore some truly clean means of providing power to southern New England.