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Maine Supreme Court Rules That Anti-CMP Corridor Referendum Signatures Were Valid

The lawsuit had aimed to stop the people's referendum

The state's highest court has ruled that Maine voters will have their say on Central Maine Power's proposed billion-dollar powerline through western Maine in November.

The Supreme Judicial Court Thursday rejected a former CMP employee's claim that thousands of signatures submitted by opponents to get the referendumquestion on the statewide ballot should be invalidated.

CMP's political action committee also claimed opponents acted illegally. Jon Breed is executive director of "Clean Energy Matters."

"In the face of clear forgery, fraud and conflicts of interest, we raised concerns. And while we disagree ultimately with the Secretary of state's interpretation of the notary law, we respect the Supreme Court's decision."

Tom Saviello is a leader with the Say No to the CMP Corridor coalition.

"I'm very happy the people of the state of Maine will have a voice on this corridor, and that's despite all of CMP's efforts to silence them."

The project would bring hydro-electricity from Canada into the regional grid to serve customers in Massachusetts. The court ruled that opponents did not violate state law by allowing some notaries who certified petition signatures to do other work specifically against the project.

CMP has spent millions of dollars on lobbying, advertising and legal expenses aimed at building support and beating back opposition to the 145-mile transmission line. A spokesperson for it's political PAC said today it would work "tirelessly" to win at the ballot box.

Updated 5:01 p.m. May 7, 2020

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.