Maine attorney general defends voter termination of controversial corridor project – archyde

The Maine Attorney General on Wednesday filed court documents defending the state’s latest referendum that banned the construction of a controversial power transmission corridor through the Western Maine forests requested by the state’s largest utility, Central Maine Power, which the court represented Attorney General Aaron Frey and Assistant Attorney General Jonathon Bolton the parties sued by CMP subsidiary New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC), which manages the 145-mile project, and its domestic parent company Avangrid of Public Lands, the Maine Public Utilities Commission and the Maine Legislature. The letter contradicts NECEC’s motion for an injunction to block the referendum from 2nd hydropower in Quebec to a station in Lewiston connected to the New England grid eral argues that the injunction sought by NECEC – lifting the ban on referendums so construction can resume – would allow the company to complete construction at the same time as the two years the lawsuit was expected to be pending. Frey and Bolton argued that the company was trying to “give the corridor a fait accompli to determine whether the various constitutional claims of NECEC are warranted. And their claims are not justified. ”In their order, it continues:“ NECEC indicates that the corridor should be completed by December 2023 according to its current schedule. Using NECEC’s own estimate of 18 to 24 months to complete the litigation, it means that NECEC could conceivably build the entire corridor while litigation is pending. ”The Attorney General also denied NECEC’s argument that it had“ acquired rights ” – mainly the spending of 450 million US dollars so far on the project State has a greater right to protect the environment, and because the company knew that its permits were contested – including the petition, the referendum on the project destruction on the vote in the November to set – and construction began – risky business decision and is now calling on the court to protect you from the foreseeable consequences of this decision, ”said the attorney general’s letter. “The start of construction of NECEC on January 18, 2021 was a calculated risk and therefore not dependent on the permits in good faith,” it said. “In any case, the court should reject the idea that a property developer who starts building a controversial project despite a petition for a citizens’ initiative that would stop the project can somehow acquire rights against the will of the population in the initiative process. “The Attorney General also dismissed the NECEC separation of powers argument that the legislature is essentially vetoing decisions made by executive agencies such as the MPUC. The letter states that the Maine Legislature has the ultimate power to legislate and oversee public utilities, though it may have delegated regulatory powers to state agencies by cutting down trees. The attorney general notes that NECEC has claimed 97% of the new path has already been cleared, but only 8% of the 832 planned masts along the entire corridor were planted in the ground of the May 2020 CMP and NECEC license to build the corridor , issued by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, NECEC had stopped construction a few days earlier at the request of Governor Janet Mills and is in the process of laying off 400 workers The department’s order is suspended, some ongoing activities are likely to take place in the project area in the coming weeks, to store building materials, stabilize disturbed areas and complete all work necessary to protect public safety, ”DEP Deputy Commissioner David Madore said via email on Wednesday. “The department will continue to monitor activities in the entire project area to ensure compliance with the requirements for erosion control, wetland and wildlife protection.”

Maine’s attorney general filed court papers Wednesday to defend the state’s latest referendum that banned the construction of a controversial power transmission corridor through the forests of Western Maine targeted by the state’s largest utility, Central Maine Power.

In their 36-page pleading filed in the Maine Business and Consumer Court, Attorney General Aaron Frey and Assistant Attorney General Jonathon Bolton represent the parties led by CMP subsidiary New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC), the 145- Miles Project managed, sued, and its domestic parent company Avangrid.

The defendants are the Bureau of Public Lands, the Maine Public Utilities Commission, and the Maine Legislature.

The contract contradicts NECEC’s motion for an injunction to block the referendum on England’s 2nd power grid.

The attorney general argues that the interim injunction sought by NECEC – lifting the ban on referendums so construction can resume – would allow the company to complete construction at the same time as the two years the lawsuit is expected to be pending.

Frey and Bolton argued the company was trying to “turn the corridor into one did before the court has a chance to determine whether NECEC’s various constitutional claims are warranted. And their claims are unfounded. “

Their briefing continues: “NECEC indicates that the corridor should be completed by December 2023 according to its current schedule. If you take NECEC’s own estimate of 18 to 24 months until the litigation is concluded, this means that NECEC is conceivable ” Build the whole corridor while a dispute is pending. “

The attorney general also denied NECEC’s argument that it had “acquired rights” – most notably the $ 450 million spend on the project to date.

Frey and Bolton said that principle doesn’t apply because the state has a greater right to protect the environment and because the company knew its permits were being challenged – including the petition putting the referendum on the project killing on the November vote – and was playing when construction began.

“NECEC has made a risky business decision and is now asking the court to protect you from the foreseeable consequences of this decision,” said the attorney general’s brief.

“The start of construction of NECEC on January 18, 2021 was a calculated risk and therefore not dependent on the permits in good faith,” it said. “In any case, the court should reject the idea that a property developer who starts building a controversial project despite a petition for a citizens’ initiative that would stop the project can somehow acquire rights against the will of the population in the initiative process. ”

The Attorney General also rejected the NECEC separation of powers argument that the legislature is essentially vetoing decisions made by executive agencies such as the MPUC.

The letter states that the Maine Legislature has ultimate power to legislate and oversee public utilities, although it may have delegated regulatory powers to state agencies.

Fifty-three miles of the 145-mile corridor from Beattie Township to West Forks is a new path formed by clearcuts.

The attorney general notes that NECEC has claimed 97% of the new path has already been cleared, but only 8% of the 832 planned masts along the entire corridor have been planted in the ground.

Judicial filing was followed one day by the May 2020 suspension of the CMP and NECEC license to build the corridor issued by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

NECEC stopped construction a few days earlier at the request of Governor Janet Mills and is in the process of laying off 400 workers.

“Even if the department’s order is suspended, there will likely be some ongoing activities in the project area in the coming weeks to store building materials, stabilize disturbed areas and complete any work required to protect public safety,” said the Deputy Commissioner of the DEP , David Madore, opposite email on Wednesday. “The department will continue to monitor activities in the entire project area to ensure compliance with the requirements for erosion control, wetland and wildlife protection.”

Reference-www.nach-welt.com

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