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Jury decides Central Maine Power could resume work on controversial transmission line

Workers connect a section of the first pole of Central Maine Power's controversial hydropower transmission corridor, Feb. 9, 2021, near The Forks, Maine
Workers connect a section of the first pole of Central Maine Power's controversial hydropower transmission corridor, Feb. 9, 2021, near The Forks, Maine. Photo by Robert F. Bukaty/AP

A jury returned a unanimous 9-0 verdict today in the high-stakes trial that could allow Central Maine Power and its partners to resume construction of a controversial billion-dollar power line. The transmission line is designed to carry hydropower from dams in Quebec to Massachusetts via northwest Maine.

After Maine voters rejected the power line in a 2021 referendum, CMP and its partners sued the state, saying they had made sufficient progress to establish a vested rights claim.

Jurors had to decide if the project developers were acting in good faith, or whether they expedited the project in order to establish vested rights specifically to thwart the referendum.

The jury considered the case after closing arguments Wednesday, then returned to the Cumberland County courthouse Thursday morning and quickly announced their verdict in favor of CMP and its partners.

This story is a production of the New England News Collaborative and is part of the  collaborative's Earth Week series. It was originally published by Maine Public.

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