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AUGUSTA (WGME) -- Two new efforts are underway this week to try to block Central Maine Power's proposed transmission line, but supporters are confident it will move forward. "I want Mainers to have a choice," No CMP Corridor group leader Tom Saviello said.
The group opposes the New England Clean Energy Connect, which would carry hydro power through Maine from Quebec to Massachusetts.
"We are a cheap date and it's easy to come across us, because we don't have good rules and regulations and laws in place to protect us," Saviello said.
No CMP Corridor filed referendum paperwork with the Maine Secretary of State's Office on Wednesday. If approved, they'll start collecting signatures at the end of October.
It's their second attempt to let voters weigh in. The last referendum was deemed unconstitutional by the Maine Supreme Court in August.
"Big difference," Saviello said. "We've taken this one and put it into the legislature's hands."
All high-impact transmission lines would need two-thirds legislative approval in the future, and the same would be needed to use public land for those projects. It would also be retroactive.
"It's another effort to use the referendum process to politicize a project that's already been approved by the executive branch and affirmed by the judicial branch," Thorn Dickinson, of CMP's parent company, Avangrid, said.
He's confident the NECEC will receive its remaining permits and begin construction later this year.
Dickinson also isn't concerned about a 10-person complaint filed with the Maine Public Utilities Commission by Max Linn, an Independent candidate for U.S. Senate.
The complaint asks state regulators to take another look at costs and burdens on Maine residents, including loss of scenic and recreational values.
"We've had many challenges from many of the opposition on this project," Dickinson said. "I believe that their voices have been heard loud and clear through the regulatory and political processes."
CMP has 10 days to respond to that complaint. The PUC, which approved the project in 2019, can either dismiss it, or begin a formal investigation.