WATCH: Lawsuit cancels land lease for part of CMP corridor

WATCH on WMTW 8

A Superior Court judge has canceled the lease between Central Maine Power Company and the state for a stretch of public land designated for a long-debated electric transmission line.

The ruling, handed down by Justice Michaela Murphy on Tuesday, will force developers of the long-debated New England Clean Energy Corridor to renegotiate a lease deal with the state and get legislative approval for the project.

Once completed, the transmission line would connect hydroelectric generators in Canada to customers in Massachusetts.

In the ruling, Murphy said Maine's Bureau of Public Lands failed to show the project would not significantly alter public land and skirted legal requirements to get legislative approval for the lease.

CMP first leased the land, nestled between West Forks and Johnson Mountain, under the LePaige administration in 2014. The lease was extended by Gov. Janet Mills last year.

Any future lease would require a two-thirds majority vote from the legislature.

"This is really important that we follow our constitution, and we follow the laws of the state of Maine," said Tom Saviello, a former state senator now working as a citizen volunteer to push back against the project.

Saviello argues the project would cause significant damage to Maine's forests with little-to-no return to the state. He was one of the lead signatures on a petition to put the project's future on a statewide referendum vote this November.

"We are reviewing the Superior Court's decision to determine our next steps on this matter," said Thorn Dickinson, CEO and President NECEC Transmission, the company overseeing the transmission line project.

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  • Sandra Howard
    published this page in News 2021-08-12 03:48:04 -0400