Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is meeting privately Thursday afternoon with the leader of Quebec, according to his spokesman.
Premier Pauline Marois will meet with Malloy in his state Capitol office. Earlier in the day she met with Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, according to news reports.
Last year, Marois became Quebec’s first female premier.
Besides Connecticut and Rhode Island, she will meet with the governors of Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire on her tour of New England.
New England’s governors and the premiers of eastern Canada meet regularly to discuss issues relating to energy, transportation, and commerce. Their next meeting is in September, but they remain in contact throughout the year.
Just last month Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin’s office announced the Vermont-Quebec Electric Charging Corridor in cooperation with Marois. The goal of that initiative is to reduce the “range anxiety” experienced by owners of electric cars who need a charge to keep going and can’t find a plug.
Energy policy often is a topic of discussion between the governors and the premiers. Malloy was criticized in July 2011 by Premier Kathy Dunderdale, according to Canadian news media, for continuing to support wind and solar as alternatives.
“Malloy said Newfoundland and Labrador hydroelectric power is welcome in the States, but they’re also working on alternatives such as wind and solar power,” The Telegram reported.
In June 2013, Malloy signed legislation that allowed large-scale Canadian hydropower to be used to help the state reach its renewable energy goals. The move was panned by environmentalists, but it won the support of a majority of lawmakers. At least one environmentalist has said the legislation was a gift to Northeast Utilities, the utility selected to build the transmission lines that will extend from Quebec through New England.
“This section of the bill strikes us as a narrowly tailored giveaway to Northeast Utilities to support their controversial partnership with Hydro-Quebec,” Roger Smith of Clean Water Action said in March during a public hearing on the bill. “It’s an open door to let hydropower flood Connecticut.”
The bill was changed slightly to create a tougher trigger to add Canadian hydropower to the mix, but it can be used to meet up to 5 percent of Connecticut’s 20 percent renewable energy goal by 2020.
Malloy defended the legislation last month saying the tension between the environmentalists and lawmakers was the fault of the news media.
“If you report on the people who have economic-driven concerns, or if you report on the concerns of people who have not taken the time to understand what you’re trying to do — with the same regularity you report everything else — then sure there are always environments in which misunderstandings can be had,” Malloy said on June 18.
A spokesman for the governor was unable to give any indication about what the two would speak about because the meeting is taking place around 5 p.m.