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Maine DEP ready to suspend corridor construction

After a court ruling earlier this week, opponents asked the DEP to place a halt order until the issue is resolved.

AUGUSTA, Maine — EDITORS NOTE: The above video was published on August 11, discussing the court ruling on the Central Maine Power corridor.

More problems for the New England Clean Energy Connect -- the so-called CMP Corridor. 

Earlier this week, a Maine Superior Court judge ruled that the permit for the line to cross a mile of state-owned public reserve land did not follow the Maine Constitution, and was invalid. As a result, project opponents asked the Department of Environmental Protection to order a halt to the project until the issue is resolved.

RELATED: Corridor opponents ask DEP to stop construction after court ruling

It appears the DEP may do just that.

An email letter from the DEP Commissioner to NECEC leaders, provided to NEWS CENTER Maine by opponents and confirmed by one of their lawyers, states that the DEP intends to suspend the overall permit for the transmission line because of the court ruling. The letter gives the NECEC 15 days to request a hearing on the issue but does not say anything about an immediate work stopping. 

A spokesman for the NECEC project said he had not seen the letter, and there has been no public response from the company.

The DEP letter says that if a suspension is imposed, it would stay in effect until the NECEC wins a court appeal, secures a new lease for the public land or the project gets approval for an alternate route.

Thorn Dickinson, CEO/president NECEC Transmission, said an appeal to the ruling has been filed.

"Today [Friday], the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands filed a notice to appeal a Superior Court decision about BPL leasing practices. As one of many current leaseholders impacted by the court’s ruling, CMP and NECEC LLC also filed a notice of appeal," he said in a statement, 

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