REGION — Voters in Oxford Hills communities will not be asked to vote on any local issues on Nov. 2’s election day, which is next Tuesday.

But there are three statewide referendum questions on ballots.

Question 1
The first is whether to ban construction of Central Maine Power’s controversial power corridor set to run through the state transporting power from Hydro-Quebec in Canada to Massachusetts’ power grid. Opponents have mounted a steady grass-roots campaign against the corridor, even as CMP cleared federal and state agency hurdles and began clear-cutting while the project’s future was stuck in legal proceedings. Maine’s Supreme Court ruled that public lands included in the plan had been illegally leased to CMP last August and in September ordered the utility company to cease construction work on the property in question, although it was allowed to continue in other parts of the state.

Question 1 reads: Do you want to ban the construction of high-impact electric transmission lines in the Upper Kennebec Region and to require the Legislature to approve all other such projects anywhere in Maine, both retroactively to 2020, and to require the Legislature, retroactively to 2014, to approve by a two-thirds vote such projects using public land?

A “yes” vote results in stopping the corridor construction. A “no” vote results in allowing the power corridor from Canada to Massachusetts to continue. However there is much more to the question than just the power corridor.

The Sun Journal hosted a roundtable discussion on Oct. 18 weeding apart the facts on the power corridor fight from the claims.

As of Oct. 26, parties in support of the ban have received $26,184,353.16 in donations to fund their campaign to stop the corridor.

Proponents of the CMP corridor have collected $67,792,609.83 to fight the ban and continue constructing the corridor.

Question 2
Question 2 would issue $100 million in general obligation bonds for transportation infrastructure projects: $85 million for the construction, reconstruction, and rehabilitation of Priority 1, Priority 2, and Priority 3 highways, as well as bridges; and $15 million for facilities or equipment related to transit, freight and passenger railroads, aviation, ports and harbors, marine transportation, and active transportation projects.

The bond issue would leverage an estimated $253 million in federal and non-state funding through matching grants and programs. The total cost is estimated at $127.5 million—the $100 million in principle and, assuming a 5% interest rate over 10 years, $27.5 million in interest. Bonds are repaid through state revenue sources.

Question 3
The last referendum question on the 2021 Maine ballot is amending the Maine Constitution’s Declaration of Rights to declare that individuals have a “natural, inherent and unalienable right to food.” It includes the right to save and exchange seeds and the right to grow, raise, harvest, produce and consume the food of their own choosing for their own nourishment, sustenance, bodily health and well-being.

The calling for the new constitutional amendment, L.D. 95, was approved by a two-thirds majority in both the state House and Senate. It is now up to voters to decide if the declaration should become part of Maine’s Constitution.

Proponents say the measure will protect citizens in the future from the government possibly restricting where food can be grown, how people are able to access it as well as put a check on corporate farming. Opponents say the amendment could have unintended consequences for food safety and animal welfare.

The constitutional amendment would be added to the Maine Constitution’s Declaration of Rights.

 

 

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