AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - A new campaign is underway to stop the Central Maine Power Corridor. Former state senator Tom Saviello is the lead petitioner on the referendum effort. He hopes to prevent the New England Clean Energy Connect project, which is a 145-mile transmission line through Western Maine. The referendum would include a three-part question on ballots next year.
Earlier this year, the Maine Supreme Court ruled a previous referendum to overturn the corridor was unconstitutional. Saviello says the new effort will restore the voice of the people by requiring more legislative approval. It would also prohibit transmission lines in the Upper Kennebec region.
“I want Mainers to decide this, I don’t want bureaucrats to decide it. I want Mainers to do it. The grassroots people do not want this project, the polling clearly shows they don’t want it," said Saviello. "We don’t want these foreign companies of Hydro Quebec and central Maine Power is no longer owned by Mainers it’s owned by a Spanish company, we don’t want them to come through our state of Maine and change our way of life.”
Executive Director of Clean Energy Matters, Jon Breed, said in a statement that efforts to kill this project are less about the environment and more about the bottom line of oil and gas corporations.
The Maine Secretary of State provided the paperwork Friday to begin signature collection for the referendum. To qualify for the ballot next year, the campaign must collect just over 63,000 valid signatures.