David Libby, CMP manager for the Jay area of the New England Clean Energy Connect project, shows the Planning Board on Wednesday where the transmission line would pass through the town. Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal

JAY — The Planning Board voted 5-1 Wednesday to table a shoreland zoning permit application until Central Maine Power Co. receives its state and federal permits for the 145-mile New England Clean Energy Connect transmission line.

The board requested surveys and other information on wetlands, wildlife, rare plants and pesticides.

Seven miles of the proposed high-voltage power line from the Quebec border to Lewiston would go through Jay. The line would connect to the New England power grid to bring clean, renewable energy to bring clean, renewable energy to Massachusetts consumers. The cost is estimated at nearly $1 billion.

Six of the 38 single poles and three two-pole structures with an average height of 96 feet planned for Jay are governed by the town’s Shoreland Zoning Ordinance. The line would cross within 250 feet of two resource protection districts, one that surrounds Fuller Brook and the other along an unnamed tributary of Clay Brook. It would also cross one limited residential district along an unnamed tributary of Clay Brook and two stream protection districts along an unnamed tributary of Clay Brook and along James Brook, according to the application prepared by Burns & McDonnell Engineering Co. Inc. in Portland.

The line through Jay would extend from Turmel Road at the Livermore Falls border northerly to the Chesterville border near the intersection of Route 156, according to CMP’s project overview. From the Livermore Falls border, the line would extend about a mile north then northeast for six miles to the Chesterville border.

Planning Board member Susan Theberge, who opposed the project, made the motion to table the permit.


Voting in favor were Mike Hobbs, Dennis Stevens, Barbara Cook, Alfred Dufour III and Theberge. Vice Chairman Michael Fournier opposed.

Jay residents voted in June 2019 to oppose the project.

At Wednesday’s meeting with CMP representatives, Cook asked about protection of rare plants and bird habitats.

Lauren Johnston of Burns & McDonnell, which is acting on CMP’s behalf, said surveys were done on both and other species and wildlife as part of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the federal Army Corps of Engineers permit applications. There will be two environmental inspectors during construction, plus a third-party independent inspector.

David Libby, CMP’s manager for the Jay section of the project, said the contractor is required to have an environmental inspector on site.

The CMP corridor would be widened 75 feet on CMP land and and involve clearing trees on about 47 acres. Temporary in-corridor roads would be used to remove trees and install poles. Timber mats would be used to cross wetlands and to fully span streams to protect natural resources. No in-stream work is proposed. Access roads and temporary structure preparation areas will be restored to preconstruction conditions and replanted.


CMP must get approval from the DEP and the Army Corps of Engineers. It has permits from the Maine Public Utilities Commission and Land Use Planning Commission.

The project will not start in Jay until all permits are received, Johnston said.

Theberge said the project should also be considered not just essential services but commercial, because it is for profit and is based on a request for proposal from Massachusetts.

Essential services include gas, electrical or community facilities, which includes electric power or water transmission or distribution lines, according to Jay’s ordinance and state law. Commercial use includes the use of lands, buildings, or structures, other than a home-based business, for producing income from buying and selling goods and/or services, exclusive of rental of residential buildings and/or dwellings.

Tom Saviello of Wilton, who also opposes the project, said the board could put conditions on the permit beyond what DEP requires.

“You have the right to make more stringent conditions to protect wetlands,” he said.


Conditions must be in line with the town’s Shoreland Zoning Ordinance, according to town Code Enforecement Officer Ronda Palmer.

CMP’s permit application was developed following the guidelines of the town’s ordinance, Johnston said.

During the meeting, Saviello who was sitting in the back of the room, told Theberge to make a motion to table the application, which she did.

The board has 35 days to determine if the application is complete. Members will meet at 6 p.m. March 10 at the Town Office to decide.

If the application is incomplete, the board would notify CMP in writing that specified material is necessary. If its ruled complete, the board has 35 more days after receiving a completed application to approve, approve with conditions, or deny the permit in writing.

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