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Central Maine Power seeks permit to fill, build electrical transmission line from Beattie Township to Lewiston

Published March 26, 2019

CONCORD, Mass. – The Central Maine Power Company is seeking a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District to conduct work in waters of the U.S. in conjunction with constructing an electrical transmission line between Beattie Township and Lewiston, Maine.


Central Maine Power Company proposes to place temporary and permanent fill material in numerous waterways and wetlands between Beattie Township at the Maine/Quebec border and Lewiston in order to construct a new High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) electrical transmission line and related facilities capable of delivering up to 1,200 megawatts of electrical power from hydroelectric sources in Quebec to the New England Control Area, specifically in response to a Request for Proposals for Long-Term Contracts for Clean Energy Projects from the state of Massachusetts. 


The proposed work includes the following components: 1) A 145.3 mile, +/-320 kilovolt (kV) HVDC transmission line from the Canadian Border to a new DC to AC converter station located in Lewiston, including a crossing beneath the upper Kennebec River via horizontal directional drilling; 2) A DC to AC Converter Station and associated +/- 1.2 mile 345 kV transmission line in Lewiston; 3) A new substation and associated +/- 0.3 mile 345 kV transmission line in Pownal; 4) A 26.5 mile 345 kV transmission line between Windsor and Wiscasset; 5) Two 115 kV transmission line rebuilds between Lewiston and Pownal; and 6) Additional equipment installation and upgrades at Larrabee Road Substation (Lewiston), Crowley's Substation (Lewiston), Surowiec Substation (Pownal), Coopers Mills Substation (Windsor), Raven Farm Substation (Cumberland), and Maine Yankee Substation (Wiscasset).


The project area encompasses six Maine counties and 38 municipalities or townships. Approximately 53.5 miles of the new line, from the Canadian border to the Forks, will be located within a previously undeveloped, 300-foot-wide transmission line corridor. The remainder of the 145.3 miles of transmission line from the Forks to Lewiston (63%) will be installed within existing transmission corridors. The new line will be installed beneath the upper Kennebec River via horizontal directional drilling. All other waterway and/or wetland crossings will be aerial.


The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (Maine DEP) and the Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC) will conduct a series of public hearings for this project. The Corps will attend these hearings to address questions and concerns relative to federal permit requirements. The state public hearings for this project are scheduled for the week of April 1, 2019 at the University of Maine at Farmington. For directions, schedule details and other information refer to: https://www.maine.gov/dep/ftp/projects/necec/hearing/JointHearingNotice.pdf.


For additional information relating to the Maine state regulatory processes, refer to:

https://www.maine.gov/dep/land/pro jects/necec/index.html (Maine DEP); and

https://www.maine.gov/dacf/lupc/projects/sitelawcertification/slc9.html (LUPC).


To compensate for the project's projected natural resource impacts, including unavoidable impacts to waterways and wetlands, the Central Maine Power Company proposes a compensation plan intended to address both federal and state requirements for compensatory mitigation. Specific to impacts to aquatic resources, the plan includes wetland and upland preservation on a total of 1,022.4 acres at three locations in the project corridor. These parcels range in size from 81.24 to 831.39 acres. The applicant also proposes a contribution to the Maine Natural Resource Mitigation Fund (Maine In-Lieu Fee Program). 


The proposed work may impact Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) for Atlantic salmon. This habitat consists of stream and river bottom composed of silt, sand and gravel mixed with stones. Impact to this species is expected to be minimal with appropriate erosion control measures, in-stream work windows, clearing restrictions, and other best management practices. Therefore, the Corps has made a preliminary determination that the site-specific adverse effect will be minimal. Further consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service regarding EFH conservation recommendations is being conducted and will be concluded prior to the final permit decision. Similarly, consultation will be initiated regarding the presence of salmon as they are a federally listed endangered species.


The application for the federal permit was filed with the Corps in compliance with Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act, which provides for federal regulation of any work in, or affecting navigable waters of the U.S.; and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which regulates the discharge or fill of material in U.S. waters, including wetlands. The public notice, with more specifics on the work proposed by the Central Maine Power Company, can be viewed on the Corps website at www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/PublicNotices.aspx.


Public comments on this work proposed by the Central Maine Power Company (file # NAE-2017-01342) should be forwarded no later than April 25, 2019 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division, Maine Project Office (ATTN: Jay Clement), 442 Civic Center Drive, Suite 350, Augusta, Maine, 04330. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager Jay Clement at 207-623-8367, ext. 1 or by email to: jay.l.clement@usace.army.mil.

Tim Dugan

Release no. UNRELEASED