Panoramic view of Mt. Katahdin from the Debsconeag Lakes Wilderness Area.
Katahdin Panorama Panoramic view of Mt. Katahdin from the Debsconeag Lakes Wilderness Area. © Ian Patterson

Newsroom

Statement on NECEC Permitting Decision in Maine

Brunswick, ME

During the past year, The Nature Conservancy in Maine (TNC) provided extensive public testimony as an intervenor in the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) hearings on the proposed New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) transmission project. Our experts explained why the NECEC project, as proposed by the applicant, would have unreasonable impacts and adverse effects on Maine’s natural resources, and should only be permitted if it were substantially modified in ways that avoid, minimize and compensate for its habitat fragmentation impacts.

We appreciate the DEP's diligence in gathering evidence and the opportunities provided for public comment on the permit applications. Given the DEP’s draft decision to approve permits for the proposed NECEC project, we are encouraged that it conditions permit approval on:

  • Requiring 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 fully-cleared 150-foot width corridor in the applicant’s proposal).
  • Requiring the maintenance of approximately 14 miles of habitat connectivity areas in Segment 1, with vegetation at least 35 feet tall in most of these areas.
  • $1,875,000 to replace culverts, which currently block fish passage in the vicinity of Segment 1 or 2.
  • Permanent conservation of 40,000 acres in the vicinity of Segment 1, executed by CMP within five years.

Should this proposed project move forward, these measures represent meaningful steps toward addressing its habitat fragmentation impacts. We continue to review the DEP’s draft decision and have identified aspects that we believe require clarification and potential strengthening by the DEP. We intend to provide additional feedback during the public comment period.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 79 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.