by Jessica Piper July 29, 2021
Updated July 30, 2021
AUGUSTA, Maine — A referendum aiming to take down the Central Maine Power corridor will appear as one question on Maine ballots this fall after the state’s high court rejected an attempt to split it into three separate questions.
Opponents of the CMP corridor project, which aims to connect hydropower from Quebec with New England’s electric grid via a transmission line in western Maine, gathered enough signatures earlier this year for a referendum that would ban such construction in the region and require a two-thirds vote in the Legislature for similar projects on public lands.
State Rep. Chris Caiazzo, D-Scarborough, a corridor proponent, challenged Secretary of State Shenna Bellows’ decision to draft a single question for a challenge to the CMP corridor project that will be on the ballot this November. He argued the initiative contained three separate issues that should be split into three questions.
The question, as developed by Bellows’ office, reads: “Do you want to ban the construction of high-impact electric transmission lines in the Upper Kennebec Region and to require the Legislature to vote on other such projects in Maine retroactive to 2014, with a two-thirds vote required if a project uses public lands?”
The Maine Supreme Judicial Court concluded Bellows was correct in drafting only one question, saying there is no specific language in state law requiring her to draft multiple questions if the ballot initiative addresses multiple issues.
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