Judge rejects offer to resume construction of $1 billion power line


PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A judge has rejected a request by developers of a $1 billion power line to resume construction, holding the project on hold until a judge’s decision next year on the constitutionality of a referendum that halted the Project.

The judge on Friday rejected an injunction from New England Clean Energy Connect and said the case is on a “fast track” for trial in April.

The developers suggested the project is at a “tipping point” where delays could cause Massachusetts, which is funding the project, to pull out.

The project, which would supply enough Canadian hydroelectric power for 1 million New England homes, received regulatory approvals, but voters rejected the project in a referendum after construction began.

The proposal calls for a 145-mile (230-kilometer) power line from Canada to Maine, where it could connect to the regional power grid. Most would follow existing utility corridors, but a new section had to be cut through 53 miles (85 kilometers) of forest to reach the Canadian border.

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Supporters say the project is a bold step to reduce carbon in the atmosphere and would moderate electricity rates in the region.

Critics say those benefits are exaggerated and must be weighed against the destruction of forest habitat.

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