CMP Upgrade Plan Won’t Come Easy

Central Maine Power’s upgrades are not doubt necessary.  But since it means getting more land and putting up bigger powerlines, many people will fight it.  The Press Herald reports on the beginnings:

Handsome capes and colonials, mature trees and nearby schools make Oakwoods one of this town’s more desirable family neighborhoods. Two high-voltage electric lines strung from 35-foot wood poles on the edge of the subdivision don’t bother most residents. At this time of year, they’re hidden by dense foliage.

That could soon change. As part of a statewide transmission system upgrade called the Maine Power Reliability Program, Central Maine Power Co. wants to expand the width of its utility corridor here by 120 feet and add larger lines strung from towers that would be twice as tall.

That proposal is upsetting to Sheryl Watson, whose backyard abuts the corridor. A mother of three young children, she worries about the potential health effects of electromagnetic fields and humming noise from the more powerful lines. She’s also mindful of how higher towers might affect property values on a street where a neighbor’s home was recently listed for $520,000.

“Is this really a necessary part of CMP’s plan?” Watson asked.

Abusing Maine’s Open Tradition

Press Herald:

NORTH WATERBORO — Dale Tarbox says he’s glad to share his small corner of Maine, a picturesque pond with clear water and plenty of bass.So he allows anyone to use a dirt road and trail across his land for launching kayaks, canoes and small motorboats on Isinglass Pond. “It doesn’t bother me, as long as they respect it,” he said.

But he’s had to think twice this summer, Tarbox said as he stood on the road near a pile of discarded roofing shingles, a half-dozen empty beer cans and the carcass of a dead skunk. Posted on a tree above the shingles is a yellow “No Dumping” sign, with a clear warning that abuse could result in loss of access.

“We put those up (in May) after they brought the hot tub in,” Tarbox said.

Landowners like Tarbox are the keepers of a distinctive Maine tradition — open recreational access to privately owned woodlands and waterfronts. But it’s a tradition that may be in jeopardy, as lands are subdivided, populations spread out and abuses test the limits of landowner hospitality.