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CMP Delays Start Of Work On Transmission Project

Robert F. Bukaty
Associated Press
This Monday, May 27, 2019 photo shows a view from Coburn Mountain near Jackman, Maine, where Central Maine Power's controversial hydropower transmission corridor would be cut. It would extend 53 miles from the Canadian border into Maine's north woods.

Central Maine Power is postponing its plan to start clearing a corridor for its controversial transmission line through Maine’s western woods.

The company had intended to start as early as this week. But in an online court hearing in federal district court on Wednesday, testimony emerged indicating that the company would postpone the start until late December or early next year.

A CMP spokesman confirmed the delay in a statement to Maine Public, saying that the company needed more time to complete the spinoff of a new company that will own and operate the project, called NECEC, LLC.

Conservation groups are seeking a temporary injunction to bar forest-clearing before their challenge to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit is adjudicated. The Sierra Club, Appalachian Mountain Club and Natural Resources Council of Maine argue that the Corps’ analysis of project impacts was too limited in scope, and opportunities for public input were also too limited.

The opponents say a more through review by the Corps and in pending proceedings by the Department of Energy could lead to the project’s failure, and if construction begins prematurely, they say, the result would be irreparable harm to wildlife habitat and public recreation.

CMP and the Corps say the agency has followed all necessary federal requirements.

A Columbia University graduate, Fred began his journalism career as a print reporter in Vermont, then came to Maine Public in 2001 as its political reporter, as well as serving as a host for a variety of Maine Public Radio and Maine Public Television programs. Fred later went on to become news director for New England Public Radio in Western Massachusetts and worked as a freelancer for National Public Radio and a number of regional public radio stations, including WBUR in Boston and NHPR in New Hampshire.