In rebuttal: Sam May and Sen. Rick Bennett: Flanagan speaks for Spain, not Maine

Lewiston Sun Journal David Flanagan’s plea for free speech rights for foreign, government-owned entities comes from a man making millions for himself and certain shareholders by facilitating profit pathways from Maine to Spain, and on to Calgary, Quebec, and Qatar. (See “Free speech fundamental to state’s economic growth,” March 17.) Let’s get to some specifics. First, Flanagan claims these bills would go against the First Amendment. The First Amendment protects freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and the right to petition. Well-funded and powerfully-connected foreign corporations that seek to flood our media with messages intended to promote their interests is not what the founding fathers had in mind. We, the people, are whom they had in mind. We have the right to petition and that means conducting referenda without undue influence “from away.” The issue at hand is not free speech — it’s about bought speech. Continue reading

CMP Transmission Project Pits High-Profile Maine Republican Against State's Largest Business Lobby

Maine Public Radio The political, legal and legislative efforts to thwart Central Maine Power’s $1 billion transmission corridor continued apace this week as state lawmakers considered a slate of bills that could sideline a key financial beneficiary and a Superior Court judge ruled that the state didn’t follow the law when it leased public lands for the project. At the same time, a Republican state senator denounced the Maine State Chamber of Commerce in a searing broadside that accused the state’s leading business organization of siding with foreign interests. State Sen. Rick Bennett, R-Oxford, has emerged as one of the Legislature’s most vocal critics of the corridor, known as the New England Clean Energy Connect, or NECEC. In December, Bennett, a former chairman of the Maine Republican Party, criticized his caucus leaders for leaving him off the Energy and Utilities Committee, a post that would have given him more of a platform to question the project as well as CMP’s myriad interests in state energy policy. Continue reading

BDN Daily Brief: March 19, 2021

Bangor Daily News The state official in charge of Central Maine Power’s corridor land lease was grilled by lawmakers on Thursday. The testimony of Andy Cutko, director of the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, came a day after a judge ruled the state must review its lease of a 33-acre parcel to be used for the $1 billion corridor. At a public hearing on a bill that would tighten restrictions on leases, lawmakers on the conservation panel pressed Cutko on the process that led to the leases. At one point, Rep. Joseph Underwood, R-Presque Isle, asked Cutko to identify the state officials involved in recent decisions on the lease signed in 2014 and revised last year. Cutko said he would not because it was not “germane to the litigation or the legislation.”

Ruling triggers review of 1-mile lease for power corridor

Kennebec Journal PORTLAND, Maine — A judge’s ruling will trigger a review of the state’s leases of a small section of land that’s part of a proposed 145-mile power line aimed at bringing Canadian hydropower to the New England grid. Justice Michaela Murphy ruled Wednesday that the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands didn’t have the authority to lease a 1-mile section to the New England Clean Energy Connect without first determining whether the two leases would substantially alter the land. The rest of the corridor is owned by Central Maine Power, which is behind the project. Continue reading

Court ruling may bolster NECEC opponents' claim

News Center Maine Click here for an update on the public lands lawsuit regarding the CMP corridor lease.

LISTEN: WVOM interview with NCC's Darryl Wood

Click HERE to listen to WVOM, the George Hale/Ric Tyler Show. Darryl Wood discusses new developments in the Legislature to address the CMP corridor.

Lawmakers Hold Hearing On CMP Leases After Judge Says They're Subject To Legislative Vote

Maine Public Radio Leases for state reserve lands along the route for Central Maine Power’s controversial power line are under fire in the Legislature and in the courts — putting both CMP and the administration of Gov. Janet Mills on the defensive. Continue reading

BDN Daily Brief

Bangor Daily News A new court ruling in favor of corridor opponents may give the Legislature another crack at the project. Central Maine Power and the administration of Gov. Janet Mills took a loss in court on Wednesday. Superior Court judge Michaela Murphyruled the state needs to further analyze effects of the lease of roughly 33 state-owned acres in Somerset County that the utility will be using to build its $1 billion hydropower corridor from the Quebec border to Lewiston. It is one of the most important developments in the long-running corridor saga, which is being fought on political, legislative and judicial fronts. Maine could vote in November on an anti-corridor referendum with myriad bills in the Legislature on the topic and the battle over the lease is just one of a few active lawsuits over the controversial project. Continue reading

LISTEN: Tom Saviello interview on the Mike Violette Show

WSKW Legacy 1160AM Click HERE to listen to this interview discussing the Superior Court ruling in the public lands lease case regarding CMP's lease for the corridor.

Court ruling may give Legislature a vote on CMP power corridor leases on state land

Bangor Daily News Central Maine Power’s hydropower corridor was dealt another potential delay Wednesday after a Superior Court judge in Portland ruled that the state must determine whether the $1 billion project will alter the land it crosses. If so, the Legislature would need to approve those leases. The lawsuit challenged whether the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands legally leased two parcels of state land in Somerset County in 2014 to the utility for its New England Clean Energy Connect hydropower project. Continue reading