Energy transmission project question will not appear on November ballot after court ruling

Fri, 08/21/2020 - 10:30pm

    AUGUSTA — The citizens'-initiated resolve “To Reject the New England Clean Energy Connect Transmission Project” will not appear on the Nov. 3 ballot, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap announced Friday afternoon.

    The Maine Superior Court issued Friday its declaratory judgment that this citizens initiative fails to meet the constitutional requirements for inclusion on the ballot because it exceeds the scope of the legislative powers conferred by the Constitution, a news release stated.

    The declaratory judgment follows the Maine Supreme Judicial Courts decision of August 13 finding that the transmission project initiative is unconstitutional and cannot be submitted to the electors for popular vote, per the news release. 

    The Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the NECEC initiative exceeds the scope of legislative powers granted to the people in the Maine Constitution, as the initiative does not propose legislative action, but rather a reversal of an administrative decision made by a State commission and upheld by the Court on appeal, per the news release. 

    Therefore, the initiative does not meet the constitutional prerequisite that an initiative be legislative in nature, the court ruled, per the news release. 

    Based on this decision and the final declaratory judgment, Secretary Dunlap will not be including the initiative question on the Nov. 3 ballot, as the court decision supersedes, per the news release, the department’s previous finding that petitioners had gathered enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.

    Link to Court Order: Avangrid V. Secretary of State 082120