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License For CMP Transmission Project To Go Up For Public Hearing

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Brian Bechard
/
Maine Public
Site clearing for Central Maine Power's corridor in May 2021.

State regulators are calling a public hearing on whether they should pull the license they issued for Central Maine Power's transmission line through western Maine. The move comes after a state judge last month voided a lease of state lands CMP needs for its preferred route.

Judge Michaela Murphy found that state officials in the administrations of Gov. Janet Mills and former Gov. Paul LePage bypassed a requirement to make a finding on whether the lease would result in a "significant alteration" of public lands. If found that it would, the state constitution requires approval by two-thirds of each chamber of the Legislature.

The hearing is set for Oct. 19. The Department of Environmental Protection says it will be split into two parts — a morning session for legal parties to the original proceedings, and an evening session for the general public. The hearing will be conducted online via Zoom, due to COVID-19 concerns.

CMP and the state, meanwhile, are appealing the judge's ruling to the state's Supreme Judicial Court.

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.