Opponents of Central Maine Power’s proposed power line through Maine’s western woods are trying to halt initial construction scheduled to start next month.
The Natural Resources Council of Maine, Sierra Club and Appalachian Mountain Club asked a federal court on Thursday to bar any timber clearing until there is a ruling on their challenge to a permit issued by the Army Corps of Engineers, and until the project receives another needed permit from the Department of Energy.
“I think the fact they the are willing to take that risk doesn’t mean that the people of Maine and our natural resources should take that risk,” says Appalachian Mountain Club spokesperson Susan Arnold.
Arnold says CMP notified regulators that it wants to start work in the most ecologically sensitive part of the project, near Maine’s western border with Canada, as soon as Dec. 4.
“They want to start clearing the forest, Segment One and clearing the new 53 miles of corridor. And that is irreversible. Once those trees come down, they’re down,” she says.
A hearing on the conservation groups’ injunction request could come as soon as Friday.
In a statement, a CMP official says the project is good for the state’s environment and economy, and will move ahead.