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Court Lifts Injunction That Blocked CMP From Clearing Trees In Section Of Transmission Corridor

Brian Bechard
Maine Public
Construction has started on Central Maine Power's corridor that is meant to carry hydroelectric power from Quebec through Maine to Massachusetts, although the project still faces legal challenges.

A federal appeals court has lifted an injunction that bars Central Maine Power from clearing trees in part of its planned transmission corridor to Canada.

Project opponents had won a temporary injunction on work in a 53-mile section of the corridor that stretches from Jackman to The Forks.

The Natural Resources Council of Maine and other groups asked for the hold pending the outcome of their case that federal environmental permits should be invalidated.

NRCM's senior scientist, Nick Bennet, says the decision is a disappointment but opponents are far from giving up.

"We will continue to pursue this case on the merits in federal district court. And we will continue to purse the case in state court against CMP's illegal lease across public lands, and our appeal of the state permit to the Board of Environmental Protection," he says.

Most of the 141-mile project follows existing corridors. But the northern most segment will require cutting an entirely new path.

The high-voltage line would bring electricity from Canada's Hydro-Quebec dams into the regional grid, to serve contracts with Massachusetts utilities.

In a statement, CMP's top executive on the project, Thorn Dickinson, calls the decision "a victory for Maine's clean energy future."

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.