"Maine Supreme Court Revives Contentious Transmission Project"

"Maine’s highest court ruled today that a 2021 ballot initiative seeking to block construction of a 145-mile transmission line was unconstitutional, potentially reviving efforts to build a high-profile project that would carry Canadian hydropower to New England

In a 39-page ruling, five justices of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court said the ballot measure could not retroactively ban New England Clean Energy Connect, or NECEC as the project is known. They noted the proposed transmission line had received a certificate of public convenience and necessity from state utility regulators. But in a legal twist, the justices remanded the case to a lower court to determine whether the project’s developer, Avangrid Inc., had started construction of the line in “good faith” of its permits.

The provision to retroactively limit the project “would infringe on NECEC’s constitutionally-protected vested rights if NECEC can demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that it engaged in substantial construction of the Project in good-faith reliance on the authority granted by the CPCN before Maine voters approved the initiated bill,” the court wrote."

Benjamin Storrow reports for E&E News August 30, 2022.

Source: E&E News, 08/31/2022