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Home » NECEC lays out authorized argument towards energy line ban in newly filed authorized briefs

NECEC lays out authorized argument towards energy line ban in newly filed authorized briefs

Feb. 17—Attorneys representing builders of the stalled $1 billion New England Clear Power Join hall in Maine have filed new court docket paperwork alleging {that a} profitable referendum blocking the challenge is an unconstitutionally retroactive regulation.

In briefs filed Wednesday with the Maine Supreme Judicial Courtroom, the attorneys stated the referendum generally known as Query 1, adopted by voters in November, “would chill future financial growth in Maine, frustrate efforts to deal with local weather change and violate primary constitutional rules.”

The briefs had been submitted Wednesday upfront of a listening to earlier than the state’s prime court docket, scheduled for Could.

NECEC Transmission LLC, a subsidiary of Central Maine Energy Co. and its mother or father agency, Avangrid Networks, started work a yr in the past on the 145-mile transmission line to convey electrical energy from Quebec to Lewiston, however opponents efficiently pushed a referendum to dam development. The transmission line was to hook up with the electrical grid in Lewiston, and the Canadian-generated hydropower was in the end destined for shoppers in Massachusetts.

The prospect of clearing a 53-mile portion of the transmission hall by way of Maine forestland has motivated the Pure Assets Protection Council, the Sierra Membership and the Appalachian Mountain Membership to hitch forces with power pursuits they sometimes may oppose to cease the challenge.

Rounding out the opposition are residents who, amongst different issues, don’t love or belief CMP, do not wish to see extra energy traces within the Higher Kennebec Valley or are towards the large reservoirs already created by Hydro-Quebec on the lands of Indigenous folks.

Query 1, authorized by a roughly 60-40 margin, banned development of high-voltage energy traces within the Higher Kennebec area, required the state Legislature to approve comparable tasks, retroactive to 2020, and likewise required legislative approval of tasks utilizing public lands, retroactive to 2014, so it will cowl the transmission line, first proposed practically a decade in the past.

NECEC sued the day after the referendum was adopted and continued work on the hall till Gov. Janet Mills requested the corporate to halt development whereas it pursued its court docket case. The state Division of Environmental Safety additionally pulled its allow for the challenge shortly after the referendum handed.

In December, a Maine Enterprise and Shopper Courtroom choose turned down a preliminary injunction sought by the builders to dam implementation of the referendum adopted by voters the month earlier than. NECEC Transmission and Avangrid are interesting that ruling to the state Supreme Courtroom.

“This attraction presents a momentous query,” the briefs start. “Is there any restrict on the citizens’s energy to vary a regulation retroactively to ban a selected growth challenge, regardless of prior government and judicial approval of the challenge and the developer’s expenditure of lots of of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} to construct a considerable portion of the challenge in good religion reliance on these approvals?

“Based on the Enterprise and Shopper Courtroom, there isn’t a efficient restrict on this energy,” the briefs state. “That reply is just not, and can’t be, appropriate.”

Within the briefs, the builders’ attorneys say the Maine Structure bars the Legislature from actions depriving “a developer of the precise to finish a challenge, after government businesses have issued remaining permits … authorizing development and operation of the challenge, and after substantial development has been undertaken and substantial expenditures have been made.”

The briefs say the state Supreme Courtroom had beforehand upheld a number of the permits for the challenge after they had been challenged by opponents.

The briefs additionally argue that retroactive legal guidelines are unconstitutional and say the corporate has vested rights in being allowed to proceed with the challenge as a result of it had already invested $450 million on provides and contracts for development of the ability line.