Opponents launch new referendum effort to block Maine transmission line project

The fight over the power transmission line project through western Maine is not over as a new effort for a second referendum gets underway
Published: Sep. 17, 2020 at 9:36 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WMTW) - Opponents of the New England Clean Energy Connect power transmission line project through western Maine are making another effort to put the issue to a statewide referendum.

Opponents, led by former State Senator and State Representative Tom Saviello, filed paperwork Wednesday to start the process aimed at a ballot question in 2021.

“This project remains wildly unpopular,” said Saviello, “despite the unprecedented resources that CMP and their foreign-owned parent company Iberdrola have thrown into a massive PR campaign to sway Maine voters. I’m sure CMP was hoping that Mainers would just roll over and concede to their wishes of reaping enormous profits at the expense of our environment and our tourism industry. As I have said all along, in the immortal words of American Revolutionary War Hero John Paul Jones, ‘We have not yet begun to fight.’”

Clean Energy Matters responded to the news saying they were reviewing the language that had been submitted.

“This appears to be yet another desperate attempt to use Maine’s referendum system to derail a project which has been approved by Maine’s executive branch, and affirmed by Maine’s judicial branch,” said Clean Energy Matters executive director Jon Breed. “The Clean Energy Corridor project is a good deal for Maine, and will be a real boost to our economy at a time when we need it most.”

In August, the Maine Supreme Court blocked a first referendum effort that would have put the issue on the ballot this November. The court said the first referendum violated the state constitution by granting voters powers they don’t have.

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