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Maine DEP suspends permit for CMP corridor project

The suspension announcement came Tuesday evening.

Editor's note: This video originally aired on Nov. 22.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection suspended the permit for the CMP corridor project Tuesday night, officials say.

This news came after Monday's public hearing where the department heard feedback on the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) lease decision

The 145-mile power line in western Maine to carry hydropower from Quebec to Massachusetts is tied up in legal battles after Question 1 passed.

Earlier this month 60% of Maine voters voted in favor of the citizens referendum to block the project.

Maine DEP Commissioner Melanie Loyzim suspended the permit unless and until: 

A. A court grants NECEC Transmission LLC and Avangrid Networks, Inc's request for a preliminary injunction and allows continued construction of the project pending the final outcome of the case or

B. If the court doesn't grant an injunction, final disposition of the legal challenge to the approval of the Issue One referendum in favor of NECEC Transmission LLC and Avangrid Networks, Inc. 

While the permit is suspended, all construction must stop, according to Maine DEP.

NECEC announced a temporary halt of construction late last week following a request from Gov. Janet Mills.

The company is expected to release a statement Tuesday evening, according to a spokesperson. 

Read the full document from Maine DEP below. 

Thorn Dickinson, president and CEO OF NECEC Transmission, released the following statement after the suspension:

"We are disappointed with the decision from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to suspend its permit for the New England Clean Energy Connect. The NECEC has gone to great lengths to mitigate the environmental impacts of the project affecting only a thousand acres of land while committing to preserve 40,000 acres.

"Moreover, and perhaps most importantly, there has been no change in the real and serious need for this project to address climate change – which the MDEP, after thoroughly analyzing the environmental impacts and alternatives to the project, correctly concluded presents the “single greatest threat to Maine’s natural environment.

"Since the NECEC voluntarily chose to halt construction on Friday, we see no need for the MDEP to suspend the permit. We remain committed to the construction of the corridor and the significant reduction of more than three million metric tons of carbon emissions it will bring to Maine and New England annually. We look forward to next month’s hearing in the Maine Business Court where we will present our arguments that the initiative is unconstitutional and cannot be lawfully applied to stop this vital project."

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