STATEWIDE (WGME) — There were major developments last week for Central Maine Power’s controversial transmission line.
The U.S. Court of Appeals has lifted an injunction allowing for construction on a 53-mile stretch of the corridor that was previously off-limits.
Opponents of the project said their fight isn’t over.
“This is the last pending legal obstacle currently out there,” said Tony Buxton, who represents the Industrial Energy Consumers Group, an organization that is supporting the New England Clean Energy Connect, a 145-mile transmission line that would carry hydro-power from Quebec to Massachusetts.
Now construction can proceed on the critical 53-mile stretch.
Last week, a federal appeals court rejected a request for delay by three conservation groups that are challenging the Army Corps of Engineers’ approval.
In a statement, NECEC leaders called it a victory.
“This project has been approved by five state agencies in two states, by three federal agencies, and we’ve won 13 court battles and the opponents have won nothing,” Buxton said. “To me, it’s just another bump in the road as someone one time said it ain’t over til it’s over.”
Tom Saviello is a member of No CMP Corridor a group of opponents.
He says the NECEC is far from a done deal.
“We must not forget we have the referendum out there where people will have a chance to decide themselves. And we have the public land case which is still pending in the court and I have a feeling we’re gonna be very successful with it,” he said.
“This battle is starting to rip the fabric of Maine a little bit. It’s too much. It’s time to end this and move on. Why do you guys keep fighting? Why not let it go?” Saviello said.
“They lack one huge approval. The people s approval,” he said.
Opponents gathered enough signatures to put it on the ballot in November.
In the meantime, the project moves ahead and CMP officials said benefits are already flowing into Maine, including more than $5.8 million for a variety of things, such as heat pumps and rate relief.
No word yet on when construction will start on the newly approved stretch of corridor.
A spokesman said they should have a better idea this week.