Judge declines New England Clean Energy Connects’ request to resume construction on $1 billion power line


A judge declined a request by developers of a $1 billion power line to resume construction, keeping 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 by the New England Clean Energy Connect and said the case is on a “fast track” for a trial in April.

Developers suggested the project is at a “tipping point” where delays could cause Massachusetts, which is funding the project, to walk away.

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

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

Supporters say the project is a bold step in reducing carbon in the atmosphere and would moderate electric rates in the region.

Critics say those benefits are overstated and must be weighed against destruction of woodland habitat.

A judge declined a request from developers to resume construction on a $1 billion power line from Canada into Maine. The judge will revisit the decision next year.

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