CMP Corridor route no longer viable as court vacates unconstitutional public lands lease
AUGUSTA - Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy today dealt a massive blow to CMP's NECEC Corridor with a ruling to vacate the unconstitutional lease to bisect public lands with a destructive transmission corridor for Massachusetts without the constitutionally and statutorily- required 2/3 vote of the Maine Legislature.
In the ruling, Justice Murphy concludes, "The Court finds no competent evidence to support BPL's claim that it made the constitutionally-required finding of no "reduction" and/or no "substantial alteration" before it entered into the 2020 lease with CMP. Director Cutko therefore exceeded his authority, and his decision is therefore reversed."
Tom Saviello, the lead signer of Question 1 on this November's referendum and a longtime advocate of Maine's public land said, "Today, Justice Murphy did right by the people of Maine. Now, CMP will have no choice but to negotiate the terms of this public lease in an open and transparent way, as the Maine Constitution and statutes require, before the full Legislature."
"CMP can promote this unpopular project until the cows come home, but until the NECEC lease is vetted by the Maine Legislature, their route no longer connects," said Senator Russell Black, the lead petitioner on this case. "This has been the opinion of the ACF Committee on which I serve for years, and I am glad to see this opinion confirmed by the court."
"Today's decision confirms what we've known all along: CMP is not above the law," said Rep. Maggie O'Neil of the ACF Committee. "CMP's corridor project will substantially alter our public lands, requiring public oversight before it can move forward. "Now two administrations have secretly violated the law to benefit corporate interests above Maine people. It's time for the legislature to take a vote, the way we have on all projects before it."
"This ruling is confirmation that this project has corrupted the integrity of two separate administrations to the point of willfully violating a 28-year-old constitutional norm," said Senator Rick Bennett. "I look forward to a full vetting of this lease by the Maine Legislature."
"With this ruling, the entire CMP Corridor is rightfully at risk," said Darryl Wood, a volunteer with No CMP Corridor. "CMP has put millions towards convincing Mainers that this project is a done deal, but today's ruling shows that the fate of this destructive corridor is very much still in play. CMP no longer has title right and interest for the full route, so if they continue to build it will be a powerline to nowhere. I look forward to voting yes in November to reject this project and protect our public lands."