AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Janet Mills, who has backed the Central Maine Power Co. corridor project, called on the company to halt construction Friday while legal challenges to the project and the November referendum aiming to block it are resolved.
Mills, a Democrat, sent a letter to Thorn Dickinson, CEO of NECEC Transmission LLC, the CMP subsidiary working on the project, asking him to stop work on the 145-mile transmission line while the courts and Maine Department of Environmental Protection consider the issues in front of them to “give deference to the will of the voters.”
“While you are not legally obligated to do so at this point, immediately halting construction in a voluntary manner will send a clear message to the people of Maine that you respect their will,” Mills said. “I strongly urge you to do so.”
Anti-corridor advocates had been calling on CMP to stop construction since voters rejected the corridor by a 59-41 margin in the Nov. 2 referendum election. But the utility company continued work on the project, which aims to bring hydropower from Canada to connect with the New England power grid, while calling the referendum “unlawful” in a new lawsuit.
Mills backed the corridor project in 2019, after she was elected governor, citing the need for clean energy and the benefits promised by CMP. Former Gov. Paul LePage, who is running against Mills in 2022, has also favored the project.