“The End Is Near!” was a recurring theme in the old Mad magazine, which ceased publishing last summer after a 67-year run. As a kid, I read it religiously and was surprised it stayed around that long as I hadn’t seen a copy for decades. Turning pages of each new edition in the Fifties and Sixties, I’d see caricature variations of a gray-bearded man in a robe carrying a sign warning of impending apocalypse. Mad satirized everything; it was totally unserious, and that appealed to me.
Some of that unseriousness is still in me, especially when hearing leftist Democrats preach variations of their “The End Is Near” rhetoric. They’ve long sermonized about doom from “global warming” or “climate change” during which the polar ice caps and alpine glaciers will ostensibly melt, flood the oceans and kill millions unless we “Repent Now!” by abandoning fossil fuels, buying carbon credits, and totally switching over to windmills and solar panels.
Used to be they included hydroelectricity in their “clean energy” pantheon, but it seems to have fallen from grace. Nearly everywhere I’m seeing “NO CMP CORRIDOR” lawn signs after a referendum campaign put the question on Maine’s November ballot.
Central Maine Power has plans to construct a power line in western Maine to carry electricity from Hydro Quebec to Massachusetts.
Twice I’ve questioned champions of this movement about their reasons for opposing the line. Their biggest arguments were that, 1) it would be unsightly, and 2) it would cut trees along its route from the Canadian border to southern Maine.
“What’s wrong with that?” I asked.
“Well, trees absorb carbon dioxide and help prevent climate change,” was their answer.
I should disclose here that I’m not a believer in human-caused climate change and have written numerous columns over the years refuting it. When discussing the corridor issue, however, I didn’t proselytize; I just tried to understand the opposition. I’ve read the literature on their websites like: nocmpcorridor.com and others, and I’m still confused. The New England region needs more electricity, and no combinations of solar panels and windmills can produce enough no matter how heavily they’re subsidized.
But this column isn’t about the deficiencies of “renewable energy.” It’s about trying to make sense of leftist/environmentalist opposition to hydroelectricity from Quebec. If they’re so worried about carbon emissions and global warming, what sense does it make to oppose hydroelectricity, which doesn’t emit carbon? Yes, some trees would be cut down in a corridor for a new powerline, but other green things will grow there. Look at older power line corridors all over the landscape. There’s plenty of growth under the lines, and it absorbs carbon too.
Go to nocmpcorridor.com and look at the arguments; they’re the weakest I’ve ever seen in a political campaign.
“A 53-mile corridor the width of the New Jersey Turnpike would cut through western Maine, crossing some of the country’s last native brook trout habitat, fragile wetlands, deer yards and ruining pristine scenic views,” it claims. Trout streams are not endangered. Neither are deer yards or fragile wetlands. I concede that views would be compromised, but that’s it.
“Countless jobs in the biomass industry and related forest products industries would be put in jeopardy,” the site claims. Really? How?
“Tourism is the No. 1 industry in Maine, and this corridor will jeopardize those jobs,” it says. Really? Seasonal homes need electricity. So do campgrounds, hotels, restaurants and just about all other tourist infrastructure. How, exactly, will a power line jeopardize those jobs? I can’t imagine.
The only plausible reason that leftist/environmentalist groups oppose the CMP corridor is hinted at with: “This corridor would jeopardize Maine’s renewable energy sector, which could lose hundreds of millions of dollars over the next fifteen years as a direct result of this project.”
I guess they’re afraid that lots of clean electricity coming down from Canada would negate any need for additional “renewable sources” and, hence, the need for further taxpayer subsidies of their cherished wind and solar projects.
Wind and solar industries can’t survive without taxpayer subsidies because they cost more than they deliver and don’t produce energy on calm, cloudy days. To this writer, it looks like the NO CMP CORRIDOR movement is mostly afraid of losing its continued access to the government teat.
The whole campaign is tailor-made for a Mad magazine spoof. Too bad it’s not around anymore.
Addendum: Maine’s CMP Corridor was proposed after the “Northern Pass” project was rejected in neighboring New Hampshire.
Tom McLaughlin lives in Lovell, Maine. He can be reached on his website at tommclaughlin.blogspot.com.