Hydro-Québec's energy corridor project in Maine has aroused discontent among part of the population of this state.
Hydro-Québec has obtained a partial legal victory for its transmission line to Maine on Tuesday, as the state's Supreme Court ruled that a referendum result opposing the line was unconstitutional.
According to the court, it was the retroactive nature of the referendum that violated the promoter's constitutional rights.
The victory is not complete, however, since the highest court in the state has at the same time ordered that the legal proceedings be referred to the trial court, in this case the Superior Court of Maine.
This means that the Quebec Crown corporation's US partner, New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) Transmission LLC, will now have to demonstrate that it has obtained the necessary permits and authorizations in accordance with existing laws and regulations, and that the work in progress has continued in good faith.
In addition, another decision of the Maine Supreme Court is still to come, namely that on the validity of the lease obtained by the Hydro-Québec partner on public lands where a 1.4 kilometer section of the disputed transmission line must pass.
In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Hydro-Quebec says it and NECEC Transmission LLC are currently reviewing the court rulings to determine what to do next and potential impacts on the transmission line construction schedule. .
The state-owned company takes the opportunity to recall that NECEC obtained the building permits following an independent process and rigorous that recognized the environmental and economic benefits of the project.
The US-Quebec project ultimately aims to export Quebec electricity, up to 1,200 megawatts, which is enough electricity to power one million homes.
< p class="e-p">Most of the 233 kilometer transmission line is to be built in existing corridors, but a new 85 kilometer route must be built to reach the Canadian border.
Workers were already cutting down trees and installing infrastructure when the state governor asked for the work to be suspended following the referendum. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection was then to suspend its permit, but that decision could be overturned depending on the outcome of the legal proceedings.
The referendum on this project , the costliest in Maine history with its US$90 million bill, had caused deep divisions.