CHESTERVILLE — The Select Board on Thursday night called a special town meeting for July 25 for voters to reconsider the letter of support the board wrote for a proposed 145-mile electricity transmission line through Maine.

The board voted unanimously to call a special town meeting to begin immediately after a one-hour forum. Thirty-eight people attended the weekly board meeting, most of whom left after the vote to call a special town meeting.

Megan Heikkinen, a resident of Chesterville, gave the board petitions she circulated that were signed by 121 residents. She gathered the signatures in four days, Tom Saviello, a Wilton selectperson and opponent of the line, told the board. State law requires that a petition signed by more than 10% of the number of residents who voted in the previous (2018) gubernatorial election be considered for action. Ten percent would be 65.

“CMP (Central Maine Power) has become untrustworthy,” Heikkenen said. “We should think long and hard about our future and about our children’s future. And our grandchildren’s future.”

During the discussion, board members several times referred to “the forum,” indicating they intended to call a forum and special town meeting. After more than 20 minutes of public discussion, Selectman Edward Hastings IV made and Chairman Matthew Welch seconded a motion for a forum at 6:30 p.m. on July 25 with a special town meeting to follow immediately. The sessions will be at the Town Office on Dutch Gap Road.

Several times, Welch told the audience, “Let’s save the debate for the forum,” as speakers addressed the board. Most speakers opposed the line, which CMP has named New England Clean Energy Connect.

Carroll Corbin, 74, a longtime resident of Chesterville, said, “The only thing we’re gonna get out of this is bent over.” His was the last comment before Hastings moved to schedule the town meeting.

The transmission line would carry electricity from Hydro Quebec, the province-owned electricity company, to Massachusetts. The Maine segment would enter the state in Beattie Township, southeast of Lac Megantic, Quebec, and connect to existing lines at a power station in Lewiston. CMP would build and operate the line.

Massachusetts is under a state mandate to switch some electricity use to renewable energy, and Hydro Quebec’s water-generated system is one of the largest in the world.


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