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Battle over CMP transmission corridor goes to Maine Supreme Court

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Linda Coan O'Kresik
/
Bangor Daily News
Cianbro employees guide the top of the first pole of the NECEC hydropower transmission corridor onto its base in this Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021 photo.

The fate of Central Maine Power's controversial energy corridor through western Maine is now in the hands of the state's highest court.

Late last week a lower court judge halted his own consideration of a challenge to the law that state voters enacted last year to kill the project, and sent it on to the Supreme Law Court.

Business Court judge Michael Duddy wrote that he still does not think the challenge by CMP's parent company, Avangrid Networks, has a substantial chance of prevailing. But he also says its arguments about constitutional issues such as due process, contracts and separation of powers present difficult questions that deserve review at the highest level.

The Law Court has set a deadline of Feb. 28 for briefs by Avangrid and other opponents of the new law, and April 18 for briefs by the state Bureau of Parks and Lands and the law's supporters. That could push oral arguments into the spring.

Meantime, the state has pulled CMP's license to continue construction on the billion-dollar power line, until directed otherwise by a 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.