The wording for a controversial referendum question championed by opponents of Central Maine’s Power’s transmission line project in western Maine has been released for public review by the secretary of state.
Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows will be accepting public comments regarding the question’s form and content until May 13.
Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows said Tuesday that her office is now accepting public comment on the wording of the citizen’s initiative question that will appear on the Nov. 2 referendum election ballot.
It is derived from a recently passed citizen initiative: An Act To Require Legislative Approval of Certain Transmission Lines, Require Legislative Approval of Certain Transmission Lines and Facilities and Other Projects on Public Reserved Lands and Prohibit the Construction of Certain Transmission Lines in the Upper Kennebec Region.
The ballot question 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 question represents one front in a battle being waged by opponents of the New England Clean Energy Connect transmission line, which is designed to bring hydropower from Quebec through Maine to utilities in Massachusetts. The project already is underway along existing transmission corridors owned by CMP. But construction in an undeveloped stretch of forest near the Quebec border is on hold pending court challenges.
State law requires Bellows to present the proposed legislation “concisely and intelligibly” as a ballot question. She will be accepting public comments regarding the question’s form and content until May 13. All comments will be reviewed and considered before the ballot question is finalized.
Comments will be accepted via an online submission form at maine.gov/sos/form/certain-transmission-lines, via email at [email protected] with subject line “Public Comment,” or by mailing a comment to the secretary of state at Attn: Public Comment, 148 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0148.
Comments also can be hand-delivered to the Office of the Secretary of State at the Nash School Building, 103 Sewall St., Second Floor, Augusta ME 04333-0148.
The full text of the proposed legislation is available on the state’s citizen’s initiatives web page, along with proponent information.
BY TUX TURKEL PRESS HERALD