Lawyers clash over $1b hydropower transmission corridor

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Land in the vicinity of Central Maine Power's controversial hydropower transmission corridor is seen last month, north of The Forks, Maine.
Land in the vicinity of Central Maine Power’s controversial hydropower transmission corridor is seen last month, north of The Forks, Maine.Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press

BOSTON — Attorneys for conservation organizations and an electric utility clashed Tuesday before a federal appeals court over the adequacy of environmental reviews of a key portion of a power transmission project in western Maine.

An attorney for three conservation groups disputed the thoroughness of the US Army Corps of Engineers and suggested its review was handled differently from those of other projects. But Central Maine Power said the federal agency properly found there was no significant impact.

The Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Council of Maine, and the Appalachian Mountain Club are seeking to stop the New England Clean Energy Connect while they pursue a lawsuit seeking a more comprehensive environmental review by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Three judges for the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit at times expressed exasperation over complexities of the arguments relating to the review process and separate environmental assessments by the Department of Energy and the Army Corps of Engineers.