A trial begins April 10 that could help decide the fate of New England Clean Energy Connect, the planned 145-mile line backed by Central Maine Power Co. A jury of nine Cumberland County residents is scheduled to hear testimony about land claims related to the transmission line corridor.
A lawsuit involving more than 2 million pages of evidence will confront jurors, who must decide whether Central Maine Power's parent has vested rights in the project Mainers voted to kill in 2021.
The jury won’t rehash the merits of those actions. Instead, it will decide the facts around a narrow legal doctrine, known as vested rights, that will determine if NECEC is entitled to build on the corridor. The jury must decipher, in the words of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, “whether NECEC acquired a cognizable property right that the Maine Constitution protects from being impaired by retroactive legislation.”
Lawyers in firms contacted by the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram declined to discuss the case on the record. The Natural Resources Council and Saviello declined to be interviewed. NextEra didn’t respond to an interview request.
War over CMP corridor enters new phase – a jury trial - CentralMain...
Skyrocketing electricity rates are a big wake up call to all those who opposed NECEC, if they connect the dots properly. This requires independent thought.
This court should have remanded this back to the voters, who can now consider the price of electricity is tied to billion-dollar ventures like the Aroostook fiasco bought and paid by Maine ratepayers, while NECEC is bought and paid for by Massachusetts ratepayers.
And if you think Western Maine is a poor part of the state being taken advantage of by CMP and Quebec, remember where Sugarloaf Mountain Resort, Saddleback Mountain Resort and Sunday River Resort are located, and they use a lot of electricity and they don't have windmills on their peaks.
Comment from the CM article:
This is not about the environmental impact of the project. This trial deals with one question; Once NECEC obtained a legal permit, did they aquire vested rights? This Jury will need to focus on a limited legal issue and tune out all the other noise. Consider if you received a permit to build a house, you started to build, halfway through the citizens of Maine passed a referendum retroactively stopping you from building your house. Would you just accept the losses and move on.
That being said, this is an emotional subject for many who believe that the only solution to our energy problems should be locally sourced wind and solar, to which the environmental costs do not apply.
A jury trial is a major dodge by Judge Murphy. IMO, she does not want to be responsible for the final decision on this highly visible, controversial project. It's a complicated question to put before a jury given the constant beat of the climate change drum and the liberal bent of the potential jury pool. The proponents should be thrilled with her decision.
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