Photos and Video of Grid Construction in the Maine Woods

Freshly cut trees in the new CMP Corridor in Maine’s Northern Forest. Near Rock Pond and looking east towards Coburn Mountain. Appleton Township.

In 2018 and again last year (2020) I made some photographs and video of the undeveloped areas between Jackman Maine and the Quebec border to the west. In 2014, Central Maine Power began the process of getting approval for a new high-voltage transmission line that would bring Quebec hydropower through the Maine woods for eventual use in the electricity market in southern New England, primarily Massachusetts. Similar to a project in New Hampshire that was never approved (see my previous post, ‘Northern Pass Denied’,) this project was vehemently opposed by Mainers living in the region and who appreciate it’s beauty. The project was officially approved earlier this year, but then Maine voters voted to stop the project in a ballot referendum last month. The state officially suspended CMP’s permit on November 23rd. I’m sure lawsuits will follow, so right now the project is in limbo.

Rock Pond and Tumbledown Mountain in Northwest Somerset, Maine. Boundary Mountains region. Site of proposed CMP transmission corridor.
Freshly cut trees in the new CMP Corridor in Maine’s Northern Forest. Near Rock Pond and looking west towards the Canadian Border. Appleton Township.

When the project was approved earlier this year, CMP began cutting the corridor through some of the most remote mountainous terrain in the state. Above you can see a before and after view of Rock Pond and the Boundary Mountains beyond. The corridor was just starting to be cut and will eventually be much wider if completed. To see a few more before pictures, including from the shores of Rock Pond, check out my post “What It’s Really Like to Make Conservation Photos in the Maine Woods.”

Freshly cut trees in the new CMP Corridor in Maine’s Northern Forest. Near Rock Pond and looking west towards the Canadian Border. Appleton Township.
Freshly cut trees in the new CMP Corridor in Maine’s Northern Forest. Near Rock Pond. Appleton Township.
The new CMP Corridor on Johnson Mountain looking north in Johnson Mountain Township Maine.

This is a complicated choice, from an environmental standpoint. Some feel that the construction of this transmission line through a huge swath of undeveloped forests is worth the trade off for getting access to carbon-free hydropower. But not everyone feels that way. I’m not great at the political arguments, so I’ll leave that to my clients on this one. For more info, check out the Natural Resources Council of Maine, and this great debate on the issue by commenters on my Facebook page. In addition to stills, I shot a day’s worth of drone footage that was used in campaign ads to stop the corridor this fall.

The view from Sally Mountain across Attean Pond in Maine’s Northern Forest.

Have a great weekend everyone!

-Jerry

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