PORTLAND, Maine — Maine’s highest court heard arguments about the future of a citizens’ campaign to block a much-debated hydropower project.
Wednesday's arguments concerned the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC), which calls for the construction of a 145-mile high-voltage power line from Mount Beattie Township on the Canadian border to the regional power grid in Lewiston, Maine.
The Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) granted the project a key certificate it needed to move forward, but petitioners gathered enough signatures to put the approval up for a statewide vote.
Central Maine Power has proposed the transmission line. Avangrid Networks, CMP’s parent company, sued the state of Maine with a claim the citizens' initiative was unconstitutional and the vote should be barred.
The issues presented in court Wednesday included:
- Whether a constitutional challenge of the initiative is ripe after the initiative has been certified by the Secretary of State but before it is presented to the electorate
- Whether the initiative exceeds the initiative power of citizens under article IV, part 3, § 18 of the Maine Constitution because it reverses a final agency order
- Whether an injunction should be granted prohibiting a vote on the initiative
Parties have requested that the court decide on the matter by the end of August.
Listen to the arguments presented Wednesday here: