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New portion of CMP corridor more than halfway clearcut

Of the 53 miles of Segment 1 of the corridor, 29 miles have already been cut, according to officials.

THE FORKS, Maine — The Central Maine Power (CMP) corridor is designed to bring hydropower from Quebec to the New England energy grid.

The largest portion of the corridor runs along existing power lines, but a 53-mile stretch would cut through forest land from Quebec to The Forks in Maine. That is about the distance from Portland to Augusta. 

That 53-mile portion of new corridor is known as Segment 1. According to officials with the corridor, 29 miles of Segment 1 has already been cleared of trees.

"Basically, what it comes down to is we're already making progress on this project. We're already moving forward with it," said Katie Yates, community relations and outreach manager for the corridor project. "We've taken all the steps and we're setting poles and a large portion of it has been cut."

Yates said the corridor's route was thoughtfully planned with its environmental footprint in mind.

"What's really interesting about that particular segment is that it's going through active logging forest-- for the most part-- and we worked very closely with [the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.]"

Yates said the Maine DEP determined the project would not have a significant impact on wildlife in the area.

However, the project did not get an environmental impact statement at the federal level, which is usually required.

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On Monday, Tom Saviello, a former state senator and the lead petitioner against the corridor, spoke to NEWS CENTER Maine from Segment 1.

Saviello said despite the miles of forest that have already been cut, stopping the project is still what's best.

"The forest will grow back, and right now, the most important part is there are no 120-foot poles back here and there are no access roads to where we are," he said.

It's a battle between preserving natural land and greenery and bringing green power to the New England grid. Power lines through Segment 1 would connect a dam in Quebec, built by Hydro-Quebec, and its hydropower, to the energy grid.

Yates said, "Right now [the dam] has a surplus of power that it doesn't have anywhere to connect to, so this is essentially an extension cord connecting it to preexisting power."