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Concerns on the line

More than 30 people expressed their concerns about a massive power line upgrade project proposed by Central Maine Power at Lewiston City Hall Monday night during a public hearing before Maine's Public Utilities Commission. About 70 people were present. ...Nearly all of those who spoke before Commissioners Jack Cashman, Sharon Reishus and Vendean Vafiades were apprehensive about the project, anticipating noise pollution, loss of property value and health risks.

More than 30 people expressed their concerns about a massive power line upgrade project proposed by Central Maine Power at Lewiston City Hall Monday night during a public hearing before Maine's Public Utilities Commission. About 70 people were present.

The hearing was scheduled in response to CMP's proposal to spend more than $1 billion upgrading the nearly 40-year-old power lines running from Eliot through central Maine in Litchfield, Monmouth, Leeds, Greene, Lewiston and a corner of Auburn at the Durham line. The lines extend to Orrington, where they connect to Canadian lines.

Nearly all of those who spoke before Commissioners Jack Cashman, Sharon Reishus and Vendean Vafiades were apprehensive about the project, anticipating noise pollution, loss of property value and health risks.

"My wife and I have concerns about the increased size of the lines and the power going through, how that will affect our property value, how it will affect our neighbor's children and I think there are many issues here that I would urge you folks to take a real hard look at," Robert Fogg of Lewiston said.

Currently, 115-kilovolt lines make up most of Maine's grid, but the upgrade would replace... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

More than 30 people expressed their concerns about a massive power line upgrade project proposed by Central Maine Power at Lewiston City Hall Monday night during a public hearing before Maine's Public Utilities Commission. About 70 people were present.

The hearing was scheduled in response to CMP's proposal to spend more than $1 billion upgrading the nearly 40-year-old power lines running from Eliot through central Maine in Litchfield, Monmouth, Leeds, Greene, Lewiston and a corner of Auburn at the Durham line. The lines extend to Orrington, where they connect to Canadian lines.

Nearly all of those who spoke before Commissioners Jack Cashman, Sharon Reishus and Vendean Vafiades were apprehensive about the project, anticipating noise pollution, loss of property value and health risks.

"My wife and I have concerns about the increased size of the lines and the power going through, how that will affect our property value, how it will affect our neighbor's children and I think there are many issues here that I would urge you folks to take a real hard look at," Robert Fogg of Lewiston said.

Currently, 115-kilovolt lines make up most of Maine's grid, but the upgrade would replace some of those with larger, more powerful 345-kV lines. The 345-kV poles are wider and taller than the lower voltage poles and can require dozens of feet of additional land.

CMP says the upgrade is necessary to improve reliability and incorporate wind energy that may be developing in northern Maine.

Residents say the more powerful lines will buzz loudly, drop their property values and emit a high electromagnetic field that may cause cancer.

"I don't understand how this will benefit the people of Maine," Fogg said.

Representatives of the Stanton Bird Club, which owns the 160-acre Woodbury Bird Sanctuary in Monmouth and Litchfield, spoke against the CMP proposal to create six miles of new lines in Litchfield that would travel through the property.

"It would cut through the heart of this sanctuary, including our gateway entrance area," said Susan Hayward, president of the club. "Wildlife habitats will be destroyed and an important wildlife corridor will be permanently disrupted."

This would be the only wildlife sanctuary that would be affected by CMP's proposal, Hayward said. The route is an alternative that was proposed by CMP to avoid the Tacoma Lakes region.

Bruce Damon, also representing the Stanton Bird Club, passed maps to the commissioners and outlined an alternative proposal that would allow for the upgrade but leave the sanctuary unscathed. He urged them to research the feasibility of his proposal.

State Sen. John Nutting, D-Leeds, questioned whether Maine should remain connected to New England's grid at all.

"Do we need to be a part of ISO-New England?" he asked. "We could rely upon Canada instead of Southern New England."

Other residents were skeptical of CMP's justifications for the upgrade.

"These aren't realistic needs," said Liam Burnell, a farmer from midcoast Maine, of CMP's assertion the upgrade is necessary to keep Maine's lights on. "We can simply unplug some of the stuff we've been sold."

Additional public hearings are expected to be scheduled by the PUC later in the process, which is expected to continue into the spring.


Source: http://www.sunjournal.com/s...

NOV 25 2008
http://www.windaction.org/posts/18065-concerns-on-the-line
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