Protestors, skeptical selectmen greet CMP spokesman
John Carroll, spokesman for Central Maine Power and its parent company, Iberdrola, spoke Tuesday night to Wiscasset selectmen and a crowd, about New England Clean Energy Connect. NECEC is a series of transmission lines leading from Canada to Massachusetts, with a redundancy spur that includes Pittston, Wiscasset, Alna and Whitefield. According to Carroll, towns would be entitled to benefits including access to high-speed broadband, greater access to some economic development funds, and funding for electric cars, heat pumps and other energy efficiencies.
Some towns would also have an educational component, but the spur towns do not have access to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics funds. Carroll said all Mainers would be able to apply for the energy efficiency work, and that sending inexpensive clean energy to the New England grid would decrease the energy bill of everyone in New England.
Selectman Ben Rines had earlier asked for a second vote on CMP’s plan from three weeks ago, when the board voted to let Interim Town Manager John O’Connell work with Alna to learn more about what kinds of benefits would be available to Wiscasset. Rines didn’t agree with giving CMP the corridor, and asked for a re-do on the vote. That vote never occurred. He had more questions for Carroll Tuesday about the funding that would go back to Mainers against their energy bills, and he exacted a promise that not a single penny from Maine ratepayers would be used to build the transmission lines.
Many protesters complained about the program and said CMP has yet to solve the billing and possible metering system issue plaguing ratepayers since the 2017 windstorm, when the new billing system went into effect and the meters failed. Others said the damage to Maine’s western lands was incalculable and permanent, and would damage Maine’s “brand."
Ted Snowdon is the new road commissioner. Liquor license renewals were approved for The Cubby Hole and Little Village Bistro. A public hearing on the renewals yielded no questions. Anne Leslie was appointed to the Conservation Commission; Richard Litz, to the Board of Appeals.
A plan to firm up a Budget Committee schedule was tabled until March 13 when the selectmen planned to meet with the committee. According to the schedule so far, the budget proposal should be finalized by April 2.
A request for proposals is being finalized for the cleanup of the Mason Station site. During the public comment period, Bill Maloney announced that owing to funding concerns, he is abandoning his efforts to get a Community Development Specialist on the town warrant, but will work with the Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission to get a part-time planner. Richard Forrest thanked the board for permission to have the sloop Providence at the waterfront, and he said thousands of dollars have been spent in the community as the ship has been undergoing repairs. The cover is due to come off April 1, and the mast raised on April 4, if all goes well.
Kim Dolce said that although this week’s Planning Board meeting was publicized as required in the newspapers, she did not see it, and therefore did not come to register concerns about the Dollar General project. She asked that additional postings, such as at the post office, be placed. And Dennis Simmons, new Wiscasset Ambulance director introduced himself at the meeting.