AUGUSTA (WGME) -- Opponents of Central Maine Power’s $1 billion transmission line say they've submitted enough signatures to put the issue to voters in November.
Despite the cold weather and COVID-19 protocols, hundreds of volunteers spent the last few months canvassing the state to collect signatures.
"That will is stronger now than ever before," Sandi Howard, who heads the No CMP Corridor PAC, said.
She was flanked by other opponents at the State House on Thursday, after the group says they turned in 100,000 signatures, which is far more than the 63,000 required.
They expect it will be enough to put a referendum question on the ballot and force a vote on the 145-mile transmission line.
"We do not want Maine to become an extension cord from Quebec to Massachusetts," Howard said.
This time, they would be asking voters to enact a new law requiring legislative approval for any high-impact transmission line. It would block this project retroactively.
"We are exercising our constitutional right to make laws directly when our leaders have failed us," Sen. Rick Bennett, R-Oxford said.
"Every major permit has been received and work has recently started," Jon Breed, executive director of Clean Energy Matters, a PAC supporting the project said.
Breed said the New England Clean Energy Connect would bring more than $250 million in direct benefits.
He said fossil fuel companies are behind this effort to kill the project.
Howard acknowledges some people were paid to collect signatures, but said the majority of them were Mainers volunteering their time.
"This clearly shows that the people of Maine will not be silenced by CMP's high-powered lawyers and lobbyists," Howard said.
The Secretary of State's Office has 30 days to certify those petitions and determine whether there are enough valid signatures to move the question forward.