JAY — A public forum on the proposed 145-mile Central Maine Power transmission line has been scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday in the cafeteria at Spruce Mountain Middle School in Jay.

Organized by state Rep. Tina Riley, D-Jay, the forum is expected to include a panel whose members support or oppose the project.

Jay voters are scheduled to consider whether to support or oppose the project at 6 p.m. Monday, June 24, also in the cafeteria of the Spruce Mountain Middle School. Voting will be by secret ballot, according to Town Manager Shiloh LaFreniere.

A petition signed by 217 Jay voters was submitted in April to selectpersons requesting a special town meeting to determine how Jay residents feel about the proposed project. Jay selectpersons have voted twice to support it, but there has not been a vote by Jay residents.

The forum this Thursday is separate from the vote June 24.

The CMP transmission line would enter Maine in Beattie Township in northern Franklin County, cross into Somerset County before coming back into Franklin County and run through Livermore Falls in northern Androscoggin County to Lewiston to connect with the New England power grid.

Those in favor of the project cite clean energy and economic development among its benefits, while those opposed claim it will harm the environment and cause damage to Maine’s North Woods, among other concerns.

The forum’s purpose is to make sure people have a chance to hear a balanced argument and get their questions answered, according to Riley.

She said the forum is open to the public — not just Jay voters — because permitting for the project is ongoing, not a done deal.

The proposed project is still under consideration at the state and federal levels.

Riley said the panel is expected to include six participants, three on each side of the debate.

CMP and Hydro-Quebec will have representatives on the panel, who will be joined by state Rep. Chris Caiazzo, D-Scarborough, who also supports the project.

On the other side of the argument, the panel is expected to include Susan Theberge of Jay, state Sen. Tom Saviello of Wilton and Nick Bennett, a staff scientist at Natural Resources Council of Maine.

Each panelist will given five minutes for an opening statement. There will then be a question-and-answer session with timed answers and rebuttals, followed by closing statement from each person.

Riley said the forum will last no longer than two hours.


Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: