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.