Woolwich to revisit CMP corridor support

Tue, 08/20/2019 - 7:45am

On Tuesday, Sept. 3, the Woolwich Select Board will revisit its decision to support Central Maine Power’s proposed corridor project. The board heard from corridor opponents and the project coordinator Monday night.

“We need time to read through the materials both sides have submitted before we decide whether to rescind our initial support,” Chairman David King Sr. told the Wiscasset Newspaper.

Rachel Murphy and several other residents asked the board to reconsider its support of the controversial project. The residents were circulating a petition in hopes of reversing the board’s decesion. In November 2017, the board forwarded a letter in support of CMP’s bid to deliver hydropower and wind-generated energy from Quebec, Canada to Massachusetts. The project is known as New England Clean Energy Connect  (NECEC).

“We write to you in support of the proposal in front of you from Central Maine Power, understanding that you have many proposals to review and only one to select,” the letter states. “Woolwich, Maine is a coastal town that welcomes a clean energy future, and we encourage any infrastructural improvements that promote clean energy.”

Massachusetts officials chose CMP’s proposal. The project includes upgrading a transmission grid from Coopers Mills to a substation on the Maine Yankee property in Wiscasset. About a mile of it passes through Woolwich near Old Stage and Mountain roads.

Corridor project spokesman Thorn C. Dickinson said there would be about a mile of new construction in Woolwich where the grid turns and parallels Montsweag Brook.

CMP owns all the Woolwich land where the project would run, he continued. Dickinson is vice president of business development with Avangrid.

In response to a question from Selectman Allison Hepler, Dickinson said the project is still in the state and federal permitting phase and can’t go forward until CMP receives approval from every town the corridor passes through.

But, Dickinson added, CMP could file appeals to the Public Utilities Commission challenging a community’s opposition or moratorium against the project.

Woolwich would be among the towns that would share an estimated $18 million annually in tax benefits of the new grid. CMP’s eastern corridor project runs from Windsor southward through Whitefield, Alna, Wiscasset and Woolwich.

Election, other news

Nomination papers are available at the town office for two, three-year terms on the select board. The deadline to return them to the town clerk is 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5. Incumbents Dale Chadbourne and Allen Greene have both taken out  papers. Voting will take place at the general election in November.

King said an $1,733 EMS expenditure to buy and install a radio should have had prior approval of the select board because that is required of all town purchases over $1,000. Fire Chief Mike Demers explained these were two separate invoices, $916 for the radio and $817 to have it installed in the ambulance. Going forward, the EMS and fire departments would submit purchase orders to the board, Demers said.

Woolwich Historical Society President Debbie Locke said artifacts from the Nequasset Meeting House are in the display case at the town office. Greene and Hepler will attend a Maine Municipal Association-sponsored marijuana and the law seminar this week in Saco.

The town office is collecting donations to buy American flags to display along Route 1.