Statement from TNC in Maine on the DEP's Draft NECEC Permitting Decision
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.
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