The Maine Public Utilities Commissionsaid it will hold hearings on Sept. 14 in Farmington and The Forks Plantation so the public can comment on Central Maine Power’s hydropower project, whose lines will cut through the region. Credit: Lori Valigra

The Maine Public Utilities Commission said Thursday it will hold public witness hearings in Farmington and The Forks Plantation on Sept. 14 to let citizens comment on a proposed hydroelectric transmission line that will run from Canada to Lewiston and through their towns.

The PUC’s notice comes in response to an Aug. 20 motion by the Natural Resources Council of Maine to hold a public hearing because of the large and growing interest in CMP’s project. The Office of the Public Advocate also supported the NRCM’s motion.

CMP this week held two technical discussions about the project.

A commissioner from the PUC will attend the public hearing at each location, along with PUC staff and a transcriptionist.

In its announcement of the meetings, the commission said the public hearings will give it “an opportunity to hear the views of members of the public as it considers CMP’s Certificate of Public Necessity and Convenience” for the 145-mile project, known as the New England Clean Energy Connect.

The project had generated controversy for a number of reasons, including questions about what benefits Mainers would derive from it and its effect on the natural beauty of some of the regions through which power lines and towers would pass.

To date, the case has drawn 290 filings, 78 data requests and 301 comments submitted on the PUC’s website.

In a public witness hearing, any member of the public may participate by providing sworn testimony. Or they may present arguments without being sworn. However, only sworn testimony becomes evidence in the case.

The meetings on Friday, Sept. 14, each will begin at 6 p.m. One will be held at the University of Maine Farmington, Roberts Learning Center, Room 131, and the other at The Forks Town Hall in The Forks Plantation.

The PUC said the public witness hearing transcript will be publicly available in the case file (Docket No. 2017-00232), which is in the PUC’s Case Management System.

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