Lisa Hall: Mass. can do better than NE hydro power plan

Published: 10/15/2021 3:57:01 PM

In searching for ways to meet Massachusetts’ clean energy goals, we need to be cautious in embracing Central Maine Power’s proposed “New England Clean Energy Connect” project (NECEC).

While big hydroelectric production looks like “clean” energy, digging deeper, there are significant problems. First, it is not entirely “clean,” according to an Environmental Defense Fund article from 2019, which states: “... after 50 years of operation, a hydropower facility could cause less than 40% of the warming that would be caused by a coal-fired plant. But in the first decade after the hydro facility is built, it could cause more warming than a coal-fired power plant ...” because of methane and CO2 generated by the rotting plant matter under a new reservoir.

Second, the dam on the Churchill River in Canada which created the reservoir that feeds NECEC hydroelectric generation was never consented to by the Innu people who live along the river. They were never informed when the reservoir would begin flooding or the extent of the flooding, and lost boats, tools and homes which were suddenly inundated.

Just because there were few visible signs that these lands were in constant use for tens of thousands of years does not mean that the flooded lands were uninhabited. Their use of these lands was destroyed along with the lives of the animals who lived there.

Thirdly, in order to bring the electricity from Canada to Massachusetts, over 100 hundred miles of new transmission lines will have to be cut through untouched Maine forests, impacting the environment and the Native Americans who live there.

Massachusetts must do better than this in meeting our clean energy goals.

Lisa Hall



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