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A First Nation in Maine has written -- on behalf of both themselves and a collection of Quebec and Maritime First Nations to both U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in an effort to get either, or both, to denounce a hydroelectric project run by Hydro-Quebec through their territory.

The Penobscot Nation of Maine, supported in Labrador by the Innu Nation and in Quebec by the First Nations of Pessamit (Innu), Wemotaci (Atikamekw), Pikogan, Kitcisakik and Lac Simon (Anishnabek), is asking Biden and Trudeau to kill Hydro-Quebec’s Appalaches-Maine Interconnection Power Line project that will generate billions for the state-owned corporation without consultation or compensation for the Nations upon whose land the project will both produce and distribute hydroelectricity.

The Appalaches-Maine line would connect with the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) transmission line to take the electricity throughout the northeastern United States.

Penobscot Nation Chief Kirk Francis wrote that the project would impact ancestral lands and waterways in Canada and the United States in his letter to the PM.

“As a river people, our First Nation members have a spiritual and cultural connection to the Penobscot River. Water quality is therefore of great importance to us. Recently, we played a major role in projects to clean up the river, including one to reduce mercury and dioxin pollution and to reintroduce American shad and Atlantic salmon," he wrote.

The chiefs of the Nations on the Canadian side of the border also sent a statement to the PM and the President, expressing their regret at the lack of action by the Trudeau government. The letter was signed by Grand Chief Etienne Rich (Innu of Labrador), Chief Jean-Marie Vollant (Innu of Pessamit), Chief François Néashit (Atikamekw of Wemotaci), and Chiefs Monik Kistabish, Adrienne Jérôme and Régis Pénosway (Anishnabek of Pikogan, Lac Simon and Kitcisakik)

"It is regrettable that we are now forced to ask the highest American authorities to ensure that our rights are respected, when the Canadian and Quebec governments should be doing so on our behalf. That's why we have also sent a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau," they wrote.

The project is objectionable for many different reasons to the different Nations involved.

The electricity being supplied by Hydro-Québec will be generated by 33 hydroelectric plants that are unconstitutionally located on the ancestral territory of the Innu, Atikamekw and Anishnabek First Nations in Quebec. In addition, a large portion of the electricity generated will run out of the Churchill Falls plant in Labrador, a project that caused the devastating flooding of thousands of square kilometres of traditional Innu territory, for which the Innu have never been compensated by Hydro-Quebec.

"For decades, Hydro-Québec and the Quebec government have ignored our repeated requests to sit down with us and negotiate," they said. "Hydro-Québec claims to offer green energy to American consumers, while making billions of dollars in profits at the expense of the Indigenous peoples whose ancestral lands it exploits. We are tired of this. That's why we're calling on the Canadian and American governments to intervene on our behalf," they added.

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