May 11, 2020 (PORTLAND, ME) – Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) released the following statement today after Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued the final permits for construction of the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) project.
“Building new ways to deliver low-carbon energy to our region is a critical piece of tackling the climate crisis,” said Phelps Turner, Senior Attorney at CLF. “DEP was absolutely right to impose significant environmental conditions on this project and ensure that it does not harm critical wildlife areas. NECEC will allow New England to retire dirty fossil fuel plants in the coming years, which is a win for our health and our climate.”
As part of the public hearing process last year, CLF submitted testimony calling for additional measures to be imposed on the project that would avoid, minimize and compensate for the impacts it will have on the affected area. CLF also submitted comments on the project’s draft permit calling for stronger environmental protections.
The permits will require the project to include additional environmental protections along the transmission line, including:
- Ensuring that the cleared corridor is no wider than 54 feet throughout Segment 1, with vegetation 15-35 feet tall in the remaining right-of-way (compared to the 150-foot width corridor in the applicant’s proposal).
- Creating 12 wildlife connectivity areas in Segment 1 totaling 14 miles.
- Spending $1,875,000 to replace culverts that currently block fish passage in the vicinity of Segment 1 or 2.
- Creating permanent conservation of 40,000 acres in the vicinity of Segment 1, executed by CMP prior to commercial operation of the project.
- Developing a decommissioning plan for the project.
The project now requires an Army Corps of Engineers Permit and a Presidential Permit to move forward.
CLF experts are available for further comment.