Golden Pushes New Energy Secretary for Review of NECEC Presidential Permit
WASHINGTON — Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02) wrote today to U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to push for an agency review of the presidential permit for the Central Maine Power (CMP) New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) line that addresses the lack of public input for the permit.
The permit, granted by the Department of Energy (DOE) under the previous administration, was issued without giving Mainers in communities close to the NECEC line the opportunity to provide input on the decision to DOE. Although DOE committed to a 30-day public comment period and is required to offer such a period under NEPA, no such comment period was provided before the permit was issued on January 14, 2021.
“The Presidential permit for the NECEC project makes clear that it can be ‘modified or revoked by the President of the United States without notice, or by DOE after public notice, and may be amended by DOE after proper application thereto,’” Golden continued. “In an effort to ensure a transparent and thorough permitting process, I urge you to reevaluate the issuance of the Presidential permit and provide Mainers with the opportunity to engage with your agency through a public comment process that is merited for the significance of this project.”
In his letter, Golden notes that the proposed NECEC line would have a significant environmental and economic impact, affecting hundreds of wetlands and important ecosystems along the route. These impacts have led to considerable public interest in the NEPA environmental review process, making the lack of public comment period a clear barrier to
“Given the anticipated impacts this new transmission line will have on Maine’s forest and wetland ecosystems, as well as on the communities along the route, it is troubling that the permit was granted by the previous Administration without a more thorough National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review and robust public participation consistent with the process followed by the Department for similar projects in New England,” wrote Golden in his letter.
Golden has been a vocal advocate for increased transparency around CMP’s NECEC corridor and has raised serious concerns with the project. His actions include:
Calling for an Environmental Impact Statement on the project
Calling for and secured a public hearing from the Army Corps, which took place in Lewiston in 2019
Securing and releasing hundreds of pages of documents from CMP’s application to the Army Corps of Engineers
Raising his concerns about the lack of a Project Labor Agreement for the project and the lack of guarantees of jobs going to Mainers.
A copy of the letter can be found here.