Promotional Videos from LS Power
Intending to persuade - techniques and commentary below.
Story at a glance:
LS Power has posted several well-produced videos on their facebook page, promoting their proposed high-voltage transmission corridor.
Their tagline is “It’s a big win for Maine.”
One of the videos features Ben Lucas from the Maine State Chamber of Commerce. Exactly two weeks after the video was posted, Ben left his job at the Maine State Chamber.
Where does he work now?
Finally, why can’t this be buried high-voltage DC? NH and VT are protecting their environment with this approach.
Jason Nivens video - Posted 9/18/23 – I personally have not seen the ad in my feed, but others have, so I’m guessing this video has been promoted
(transcript, auto generated, my comments in italics)
I’m Jason Nivens, director of project development for LS power and I'm leading our routing efforts for the Aroostook Renewable Gateway.
Connecting Aroostook county’s Maine made electricity to the rest of the state is a huge undertaking. That's why we're working closely with towns and land-owners to make sure the Aroostook Renewable Gateway works for all of Maine. [Why are they hiding all comments on their facebook page and under this video? These comments would no doubt be part of making sure this project works for all of Maine.]
Over the summer we held a series of town halls from Maddawamkeg to Windsor, meeting with hundreds of Mainers to discuss the Gateway project and get their input. These discussions were very helpful, and they've given us real concrete information that will help us through our routing efforts. [However, in Palermo, LS Power appears to have used 2019 tax data in their outreach letters, assuring that a high percentage were returned to sender. Palermo was also left off their printed overview map sent to 3500 letter recipients, confusing an unknown number of residents and leading them to think this was NOT proposed in the town.]
We're working right now to integrate this feedback into our overall plan to make sure we get this right. At the end of the day this will be a project by Mainers for Mainers. [As of mid August, nobody at LS Power was from Maine or living in Maine. Maybe LS Power hired Ben Lucas from Maine Chamber of Commerce, making it One Mainer?]
Working together we can finally unlock northern Maine energy potential, grow Maine’s economy, create hundreds of jobs, and bring electricity costs down for everyone. [But, Daymark and LS Power won’t release the math or methodology behind the estimate of $2.33 per month cost reduction, so how do we know if that is even true? Yes, they have released a document that has the word “methodology” within in it, but the methodology itself is not released as it relies on a proprietary model. All of it assumes that natural gas prices will rise in a relatively linear fashion, for the next thirty years, starting in 2030, despite that they are apparently declining now. Exactly how or why would you assume that a price that is declining now will arbitrarily start to rise in a linear fashion 7 years from now???? Check out the all-time trends for natural gas here. I don’t see anything that causes me to estimate they will start rising in seven years, do you?]
That's a big win for Maine. [Cute tagline.]
Ben Lucas video Posted 8/31/23 – has the video been paid advertising? Tell me if you saw it in your feed.
Ben Lucas left his job at the Maine State Chamber on 9/15/23, exactly two weeks after this video was posted, according to an out-of-office email response. The Maine State Chamber appears to never have reposted this video on their facebook page, so it’s not clear if the Maine State Chamber really supported the video. I have reached out to them and will update when they return my email.
(transcript, auto-generated, my comments in italics)
I’m Ben Lucas, Senior Government Relations Specialist with the Maine State Chamber of Commerce. The Aroostook Renewable Gateway project will lower the cost of energy for commercial users in the region, it'll help create good paying jobs, and it will unlock millions of dollars of investment into the state and into the region. [Note again the use of the word “unlock” -this was similarly used in item 109 from docket 2021-00369 Maine Power Link LLC (website now hidden). A general technique of propaganda is repetition of key words that become jargon, but are memorable because they create an image in the reader or listeners mind that is positive. What’s curious here is that the propaganda key-word “unlock” is being used by competitors]
I think it will help, help attract new businesses that want to come to Maine. [Frankly, at this point in the video, I detected hesitance in Ben’s voice. Listen to it yourself and see if you think he believes what he is saying.]
It it's long been known that the New England area is over-reliant on natural gas and we need to work to diversify our energy portfolio. Having a new form of energy that is cost effective for the ratepayers and for businesses makes Maine even more attractive of a place to do business and to invest. This project means good jobs, increased property tax revenues, and lower electric costs for every person. [It also means temporary jobs, extreme profit percentage going out of state to big business, and private property value destruction in the realm of $100 million]
The Maine State Chamber of Commerce is proud to support the Aroostook Renewable Gateway. [Does the Maine State Chamber of Commerce actually support this? Why didn’t they repost this on their page?]
It's a big win for Maine. [Cute tagline]
Because I like to wrap up posts with “the ask”, this summarizes my current thoughts:
The LS Power proposed transmission corridor - Aroostook Renewable Gateway - certainly does not represent my vision of business in Maine for these reasons:
It would destroy around $100 million in property value along the proposed corridor, currently in the hands of private property owners
It would clearcut around 2000 acres of forest (109+- miles x 150 feet)
It would destroy well over a hundred acres of organic, generational, and heritage farmland
It specifically would impact lower-income farming communities
It benefits foreign and out of state investors at the expense of Maine landowners.
Moreover - there's a better way, and it costs less money and doesn't destroy the land. It's called High Voltage DC Underground.
There's an extensive study about the benefits and costs recently published by NextGen Highways
Please take the time to talk with the farmers and landowners who would be impacted by this proposed line.