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Central Maine Power Strikes $22M Deal On Transmission Project That Could Cross Kennebec River Gorge

Greg Caruso, ferryman for the Appalachian Trail. In season, he takes through-hikers across the Kennebec River, a few miles downstream from where CMP wants to build a major transmission line. He opposes the plan – even with CMP’s offer to donate land and money in compensation. Photo by Fred Bever for Maine Public

Greg Caruso, ferryman for the Appalachian Trail. In season, he takes through-hikers across the Kennebec River, a few miles downstream from where CMP wants to build a major transmission line. He opposes the plan – even with CMP’s offer to donate land and money in compensation. Photo by Fred Bever for Maine Public

Central Maine Power (CMP) and a group of stakeholders in the western region of Maine, where the company wants to build a major new transmission line, have struck a mitigation deal worth up to $22 million.

The money and land would compensate for the project’s potential effects on local resources, including the scenic Kennebec River Gorge. Local sentiment about the project and the new deal is mixed.

From a bluff soaring one hundred feet above the Kennebec River, Sandie Thompson cheered on a group of rafters below, just a few days ago. She’s a member of the local selectboard and a longtime resident whose property abuts the proposed transmission corridor. She was tentatively against the project, at first, but she says the idea of a mitigation package turned her in favor.

“If there’s a mitigation involved where some of the monies would come back to the community and help, these rafting companies are in a tailspin, their businesses are going downhill. There’s a lot of people against it and a lot of people for it, but unfortunately… we need power,” she says.

Visit WBUR for the full story.