WATCH: Supporters, opponents of Question 1 argue about 'retroactive' language in referendum

Click HERE to watch on WMTW

Question 1 on the November ballot asks Maine voters if they want to ban the construction of the electric transmission line to bring hydropower from Quebec to the New England grid and require the Legislature to approve such projects on public land retroactively to 2014.

A "yes" vote would block the project,

while a "no" vote would allow it to continue.

Supporters of Central Maine Power’s 145-mile transmission corridor are warning of unintended consequences of voting yes on Question 1.

They contend that other existing business leases on public land, such as a communications tower in Aroostook County, and an underground phone-cable line to a summer camp, could be in jeopardy.

"These leases would be rendered void if this referendum passed,” retired Maine Supreme Court Chief Justice Dan Wathen said. "The assertion that this will never affect anybody, have no impact in anybody in the state of Maine except the Clean Energy Corridor, is patently false."

Yes on 1 campaign attorney Adam Cote disagrees with Wathen’s assessment.

"It affects them retroactively, but it doesn't affect anybody else,” Cote said.

Cote said there have been dozens of retroactive laws in Maine, such as to clean up PFAS chemicals and accuses CMP and its allies of spreading fear.

"They're not talking about their project. They're trying to roll out a parade of horribles, red herring after red herring to get people scared and get people nervous,” Cote said.

Wathen, who is now a partner in Pierce Atwood, the law firm that represents CMP, said that had no bearing on his opinion about Question 1. He also said he was not paid to render it.

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  • Sandra Howard
    published this page in News 2021-10-01 08:36:00 -0400