Energy corridor citizens’ initiative found valid with 80,506 signatures

Mon, 02/22/2021 - 2:30pm

    AUGUSTA — Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows announced Monday, Feb. 22 certification of the citizens' initiative effort "An Act To Require Legislative Approval of Certain Transmission Lines, Require Legislative Approval of Certain Transmission Lines and Facilities and Other Projects on Public Reserved Lands and Prohibit the Construction of Certain Transmission Lines in the Upper Kennebec Region" is complete.

    The effort, according to Secretary Bellows, has enough valid signatures to move forward.

    The proponents of this legislation submitted 25,058 petitions with 95,622 signatures January 21 to the Elections Division.

    The Elections Division of the Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions has completed the process of certifying the petitions and found 80,506 valid signatures, while 15,116 were not valid, according to a news release. A minimum of 63,067 signatures from registered Maine voters was required.

    The Maine Legislature will now consider this initiative. Legislators can choose to enact the bill as written or to send it forward to a statewide vote on the November 2, 2021 ballot.

    Petitions for this effort were issued for circulation Oct. 30, 2020. According to the proposed bill summary, this legislation seeks to require the approval of the Legislature for the construction of high-impact electric transmission lines and provides that high-impact electric transmission lines crossing or utilizing public lands must be approved by two-thirds of all the members elected to each House of the Legislature.

    This initiated bill also prohibits the construction of high-impact electric transmission lines in the Upper Kennebec Region. These provisions apply retroactively to September 16, 2020, the date of filing of this initiative. This initiated bill also requires the approval of two-thirds of all the members elected to each House of the Legislature for any use of public lands for transmission lines and facilities and certain other projects. This provision applies retroactively to September 16, 2014.

    “Today is bittersweet for opponents of CMP's destructive NECEC Corridor,” said Sandi Howard, a co-leader of the No CMP Corridor group. "It's bitter because the people of Maine should have had their say last November, but it's sweet because it shows that no matter what CMP or their high powered lawyers throw at us, opposition to the project remains as strong as ever. Now, thanks to the hard work of hundreds of Mainers from all corners of the state, and against CMP's best efforts, the people of Maine (their customers) will vote once and for all on the fate of the NECEC project."