DEP initiates suspension process for crucial CMP Corridor permit
DEP Commissioner Melanie Loyzim sent a letter dated August 12 to Thorn Dickinson, President & CEO of NECEC (the CMP Corridor) to inform the company that, in light of the Black v. Cutko decision, their permit is now in jeopardy.
Loyzim said, "I have determined that the Court’s decision represents a change in circumstance that may warrant a suspension of the NECEC Order and I, therefore, am initiating this proceeding under the above-cited sections of the law and rule." She continues, "This letter shall serve as the required notice that I have decided to exercise my discretionary authority to initiate proceedings to consider the suspension of the NECEC Order based on the criterion set forth in 38 M.R.S. § 342(11-B) and Chapter 2, § 27(E) in light of the Superior Court’s decision regarding NECEC Transmission LLC and CMP’s lease for a portion of the project approved in the Order and the licensees’ present ability to fulfill the stated project purpose."
The suspension would be in effect until CMP can meet one of the three following criteria:
1) Justice Murphy's decision is reversed and the lease is reinstated;
2) a new lease to cross the public lands is entered into;
3) the Department approves an amendment rerouting the affected portion of the route.
NECEC has 14 days (from today) to request a hearing before a final determination is made.
"This is wonderful news for the people of Maine," said Tom Saviello, the lead petitioner of Question 1. "As I've said all along, CMP and the State did not follow our statutes and constitution in issuing the lease to cross public lands, and because of that, this entire project is unlawful until the proper process has been followed. I am pleased to see Commissioner Loyzim stepping up at this point to do the right thing."
"It's pretty obvious that NECEC/CMP cannot meet the criteria laid out by the Commissioner within the next two weeks, or even before the statewide vote this fall, so this determination is a huge win for CMP Corridor opponents," said Sandi Howard of No CMP Corridor. "CMP didn't follow the proper process, and now they are paying the price for their mistakes. On November 2, the people of Maine will decide once and for all if they want to be the extension cord for Massachusetts."