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Maine regulator moves to suspend transmission line permit

August 13, 2021 GMT

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine’s top environmental regulator has sent a letter notifying New England Clean Energy Connect officials that she has initiated the process to potentially suspend the company’s permit for a high-voltage transmission line.

Commissioner Melanie Loyzim of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection sent the letter Thursday following a judge’s decision to vacate a lease of public lands along the route of the project, the Portland Press Herald reported.

“While this portion of the transmission line is only a small part of the overall project, this portion is necessary to the overall project purpose of delivering electricity from Quebec to the New England grid,” Loyzim wrote.

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On Tuesday, Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy vacated NECEC’s lease of a stretch of a roughly 1-mile (1.6-kilometer) section through Maine’s state-owned land.

If the permit is suspended, it can only be reinstated if the court decision is reversed, if a new lease is negotiated for the land, or if the Department of Environmental Protection approves rerouting the line.

NECEC has 15 days to request a hearing to appeal the suspension.