Maine Question 1, transmission lines initiative, sees $71.82 million in contributions

The support and opposition campaigns of Maine Question 1, which voters will decide on Nov. 2, 2021, have raised a combined total of $71.82 million in contributions through Sept. 30. The next deadline to report contributions and expenditures is Oct. 22.

Maine Question 1 would prohibit the construction of electric transmission lines defined as high-impact in the Upper Kennebec Region, including the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC). The citizen-initiated ballot measure would also require a two-thirds vote of each state legislative chamber to approve high-impact electric transmission line projects.

Question 1 was designed to stop the NECEC, a 145-mile long, high-voltage transmission line project that would transmit around 1,200 megawatts from hydroelectric plants in Quebec to electric utilities in Massachusetts and Maine. Construction of the NECEC began after the project received a presidential permit on Jan. 15, 2021. The ballot initiative would prohibit the construction of high-impact electric transmission lines in the Upper Kennebec Region, retroactive to Sept. 16, 2020, thus prohibiting Segment 1 of the NECEC.

No CMP Corridor is leading the campaign in support of Question 1. The PAC Mainers for Local Power is also registered to support the ballot initiative. Together, the PACs had raised $16.64 million, including

  • $13.67 million from NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, which owns a natural gas-fired plant in Cumberland, Maine, and six solar fields or projects in southern and central Maine;
  • $1.41 million from Vistra Energy Corp., which owns a natural gas-fired plant in Veazie, Maine; and
  • $1.25 million from Calpine Corp., which owns a natural gas-fired plant in Westbrook, Maine.

The PACs Clean Energy Matters, Hydro-Québec Maine Partnership, Vote No to Protect Maine, and Mainers for Fair Laws are registered to oppose the ballot initiative. Together, the PACs had raised $55.18 million, including

  • $39.28 million from Central Maine Power (CMP), NECEC Transmission LLC, and the companies’ parent firm Avangrid; and
  • $13.53 million from H.Q. Energy Services (U.S.) Inc., which is a subsidiary of Hydro-Québec.

Based on the 2020 Census, the state’s population is 1.36 million. With $71.82 million in contributions, an equivalent of $52.71 had been raised per state resident. According to the Bangor Daily News, Question 1 is the second most expensive political election in Maine history, only following the 2020 U.S. Senate race. 

Maine Question 1 is the most expensive ballot measure of 2021 thus far. The second most expensive is Colorado Proposition 119, for which supporters and opponents have raised $1.36 million in contributions.

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