Maine DEP Suspends CMP’s Permits for Clean Energy Corridor
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has suspended the permits for Central Maine Power's Clean Energy Corridor.
In a decision handed down on Tuesday, Maine DEP Commissioner Melanie Loyzim suspended the permits, effective immediately.
So long as the license is suspended, all construction must stop.
The ruling follows the rejection of the $1-billion project in a referendum vote, earlier this month. Opponents to the measure put pressure on the commissioner to follow the will of the people, however, developers wanted her to wait until a court rules on the referendum's constitutionality. The suspension will remain in place unless project developers win a preliminary injunction in court.
The Clean Energy Corridor would consist of a 145-mile transmission line in western Maine, that would transport hydropower from Canada to the New England power grid in Massachusetts. Supporters say the project would lower electrical rates and create a new source of renewable energy. Critics have cast doubt on whether that would happen, and have voiced concern over the damage that would be done to Maine's wilderness, including how it would affect logging and timber management in Maine.
The campaign leading up to the referendum vote in early November became the most expensive in Maine history. More than $90 million was spent on trying to publicize the issue and sway voters to one side or the other.