CMP transmission line get PUC approval

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HALLOWELL, Maine (WABI) - The Maine Public Utilities Commission Thursday approved Central Maine Power's proposed 145-mile transmission line in Western Maine by a 3-0 vote.

It's a major hurdle cleared for the billion dollar project that would bring power from Canada through Maine to Massachusetts.

"We're thrilled with the decision," said Thorn Dickinson, Vice President of AVANGRID, CMP's parent company. "18 month process and proceeding that confirms the substantial environmental and economic benefits that this project will bring for Maine and for the region."

PUC Chairman Mark Vannoy says they took into account all of the impacts the project would have, especially the economic and environmental benefits they found in their report.

"You have those benefits," said Vannoy. "You also environmental benefits that we didn't actually put numbers on. And you also have fuel security benefits, and the importance for the region to have additional ways by which we can import from our neighboring electricity production areas."

The commission talked about some of the negative impacts the project may carry but said the positives significantly outweigh them.

Opponents of the project aren't pleased with the vote and say they still haven't seen any hard evidence that this will reduce global greenhouse gasses.

"We're very disappointed with the decision," said Sue Ely of the Natural Resources Council of Maine. "The decision is deeply flawed and ignores the significant problems with the project. It still is not proven that there will be global greenhouse gas reductions. This project still has significant impacts on Maine's North Woods."

The transmission line still needs further regulatory approval before it's set to go.