Lawmaker wants cross border hydropower permit reconsidered
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Rep. Jared Golden is asking the Biden administration to reevaluate its approval of a presidential permit for a $1 billion project aimed at bringing Canadian hydropower to the New England grid.
The presidential permit issued by the Department of Energy in January provided the green light for the interconnect at the Canadian border. Other agencies had already signed off.
In his letter to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. Golden raised several concerns, including the adequacy of the environmental review and public input compared to similar-scaled projects in New England.
“In an effort to ensure a transparent and thorough permitting process, I urge you to reevaluate the issuance of the presidential permit and provide Mainers with the opportunity to engage with your agency through a public comment process that is merited for the significance of this project,” Golden, a Democrat from Maine, wrote.
The 145-mile (230-kilometer) New England Clean Energy Connect would provide a conduit for up to 1,200 megawatts of Canadian hydropower to reach the regional power grid. Proponents say it would stabilize energy prices and reduce carbon pollution.
But critics have raised concerns about a 53-mile (85-kilometer) stretch that would be cut through the woods of western Maine.
Three conservation groups are suing to require a more detailed study of the impact on the environment, and a referendum drive aims to let people have the final say on the project.