PORTLAND, Maine —
The New England Energy Connect project has received its final major permit, but a federal appeals judge has placed a 30-day hold on some construction.
The judge's ruling came after AVANGRID, the parent company of Central Maine Power, which is behind the project, said clearing work had started to build temporary access roads that will facilitate the construction of the transmission line.
The order stems from a lawsuit filed by the Sierra Club and other groups in December.
They wanted a district court judge put a hold on the Army Corps of Engineers permit, which would have effectively blocked construction. The judge denied the request.
An appeal was filed by environmentalists, and the appeals court judge sided with them Friday.
AVANGRID said it would continue with construction on other portions of the transmission line until that legal issue is resolved.
The $1 billion project will bring electricity from Hydro-Quebec through Maine and into the New England power grid.
New England Clean Energy Connect calls for widening existing corridors, but a new swath would be cut through 53 miles of wilderness in western Maine.
The lawsuit filed by environmentalists deals with the new portion of the corridor that needs to be built.
The project has faced fierce opposition, including a failed effort last year that would have asked voters to stop the project.
The Maine Supreme Court ruled the ballot initiative violated the state constitution. A new ballot initiative has been launched this year to try and stop the project
AVANGRID and supporters of the project have said it would bring more clean energy to Maine and New England.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.