Several voters at a Jay Select Board meeting Monday night spoke against CMP’s proposed 145-transmission line and requested a town meeting so voters could decide.

JAY — In a tie vote Monday, the Select Board rejected a citizens’ petition requesting a special town meeting to vote on Central Maine Power’s 145-mile hydroelectric transmission line through Western Maine.

Selectpersons Gary McGrane and Chairperson Terry Bergeron voted in favor of allowing the petition to move forward, while Tom Goding and Vice Chairperson Tim DeMillo opposed it.

Selectperson Judy Diaz abstained from voting at the request of residents.

The 2-2 vote meant the motion to advance the petition failed.

Selectpersons have voted twice to support the nearly $1 billion project, once unanimously and once with a majority.

The line for the New England Clean Energy Connect project would run from the Canadian border north of Route 27 through Farmington, Jay and Lewiston to deliver power to Massachusetts.

A petition with the required 217 signatures of registered Jay voters had been submitted to the Select Board asking for a town meeting vote.

Following the board’s tie vote Monday, Susan Theberge, a petition organizer, vowed to force the issue of a special town meeting.

Prior to the vote and discussion, Theberge read a statement requesting Diaz to recuse herself from voting on all issues involving the project. Theberge said Diaz used her position to support the project in a recent commercial, which demonstrated clear bias.

Diaz, who was not paid to do the commercial, said she was responding because opponents of the project had given out two cards with her name and number on it. Among the reasons for her support for the project is it would bring in more tax revenue and economic development to Jay, she said.

Resident Dan Finley said it was a disgrace to the town to have Diaz on television supporting the project when residents did not get a chance to vote on it.

Seven miles of the transmission line would go through Jay with the town anticipating more than $450,000 in new tax revenue annually.

Theberge said CMP has grossly overestimated the value of the project and what towns are expected to receive from it.

Most of the more than 40 people at the meeting spoke against the project, saying it was a bad deal, while one resident spoke in support of it.

Resident Tom White said CMP is going to destroy a corridor from Quebec to Lewiston.

Other residents voiced concern over property values dropping if the transmission line is built.

White said while he appreciated the board’s position, he asked that selectpersons allow residents to make a decision.

McGrane said he was initially in favor of the project, but did some investigation and he would rather support the people.

“I work for 3,305 voters in the town of Jay,” Goding said.

Two cards were given out by the opposition with his name and number on them, he said.

 

 


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