JURY RULES: CMP May Continue Construction of Voter-Rejected Corridor
In a decision that has left many Mainers expressing anger on social media Thursday morning, a nine-member jury has ruled unanimously that Central Maine Power acted in 'good faith' when they continued construction of a 145-mile-long power corridor, despite overwhelming rejection from voters at the ballot-box.
According to the Kennebec Journal, the judge in the case, Michael Duddy, tasked the nine-member jury with deliberating the following question;
“Have Avangrid Networks Inc. and NECEC Transmission LLC proved to you by a preponderance of evidence that they undertook significant, visible construction on the project in good faith prior to the enactment of the initiative, meaning that said construction was made in reliance of the (Public Utilities Commission permit), before November 2, 2021, and according to a schedule that was not created or expedited for the purpose of a vested rights claims?”
After jury deliberation on Wednesday afternoon, the jury emerged with a unanimous answer of 'yes', they did act in good faith.
The KJ reports that the Maine Supreme Judicial Court had sent this case back to the lower court in Portland about eight months ago. Maine Supreme Court determined that the lower court, the one Judge Duddy oversees, needed to establish whether or not the company had 'gained property rights' to begin construction of the massive Maine corridor. The case, which was dubbed NECEC Transmission LLC et al. v. Bureau of Parks and Lands et al, has been ongoing since nearly the conception of the voter referendum back in 2021.
The reason, which many Mainers still disagree with, that CMP acted in good faith then, and can continue it's project now, is because the 2021 referendum was voted on AFTER Central Maine Power had gained the property rights, meaning the referendum would have needed to be implemented retroactively.
This is a developing story and we will continue to keep it updated as emerging details become available to us.