RadioActive 10/29/20: First Nations Impacted by Hydropower, Penobscot Nation & Herring Pond Wampanoag Speak Out Against CMP Corridor

Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

First Nations Impacted by Hydropower, Penobscot Nation and Herring Pond Wampanoag Speak Out Against CMP Corridor

a) Less then three months before a referendum question would have been on the ballot aiming to reverse state agency approval of the so called New England Clean Energy Connect, or CMP Corridor, Central Maine Power’s parent company, Avangrid, succeeded in blocking it the courts. This election day, however, opponents are collecting signatures again on a re-worded citizen’s initiative aimed toward bringing it to voters the following election cycle.

While those who promote and profit from hydro power tout it as a clean energy, the facts bear out differently in terms of environmental impacts, including greenhouse gas emissions and methyl mercury contamination, and on the health and rights of the Indigenous People whose communities are effected by dam construction and subsequent flooding. The proposed CMP corridor, a 145 mile transmission line slated to bring electricity from Hydro Quebec through Maine to Massachussetts, has received stiff opposition from local Maine communities and the Penobscot Nation.

b) On Wednesday, October 28th, the Natural Resources Council of Maine, Sierra Club Maine and the Appalachian Mountain Club filed a lawsuit challenging the Army Corps of Engineers for an inadequate environmental assessment of the project and for refusing to require a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). A groundswell of the public in the state, as well as Congressman Jared Golden and the Penobscot Nation all requested an EIS be performed, but the Corp declined this past summer.

A document obtained by the groups in the suit, under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal that the Army Corps and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) have identified major issues with the CMP corridor, including the company’s claims about the proposal’s impact on the climate.

c) Members of First Nations in Canada have been campaigning heavily these past months through in person tours and other means to express their opposition to transmission corridor projects in the Northeast United States that would increase the impacts of hydro power development on their communities.
Today we hear from an educational web event organized by Northeast Megadam Resistance Alliance and Sierra Club Maine and a press conference aiming to bring the voices of First Nations people to the Conference of Northeastern Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers last month.

Meg Sheean from Northeast Megadam Reststamce Alliance
Amy Norman, Nunatsiavummiuk Inuit, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador Land Protector
Penobscot Nation Chief Kirk Francis
Herring Pond Wampanoag Chairwoman Melissa Ferretti

Today’s program was co-produced by WERU FM/RadioActive and Sunlight Media Collective.

Sunlight Media Collective, who documents and presents issues affecting Indigenous people from Wabanaki perspectives, highlighting the intersection between environmental justice and Tribal sovereignty.