Description: Lawsuit challenging Maine law banning completion and operation of the New England Clean Energy Connection transmission line corridor, which would transport electricity from Canadian hydropower facilities into Maine and the New England electric grid.
NECEC Transmission LLC v. Bureau of Parks & Lands
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 02/16/2022 Brief Download Brief filed by appellants NECEC Transmission LLC and Avangrid Networks, Inc.
NECEC Transmission LLC v. Bureau of Parks & Lands, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 12/28/2021 Order Download Court granted motion to report interlocutory ruling. 12/16/2021 Order Download Motion for preliminary injunction denied. Maine Court Declined to Stop Ban on New England Clean Energy Connection Line from Taking Effect. The Maine Business and Consumer Court denied a motion for preliminary injunction barring the ballot initiative that banned completion and operation of the New England Clean Energy Connection transmission line corridor from taking effect. The court found that allowing the initiative to take effect would not violate the developers’ constitutional rights or constitutional principles, and that they had not demonstrated a substantial possibility of success on the merits of their challenge. Although the court acknowledged that the applicable law was uncertain, the court found that other factors would nonetheless be determinative, including because the developers would not suffer irreparable injury if the initiative took effect during the litigation and because the “paramount” public interest in participatory democracy would be adversely affected by an injunction. The court found that the economic harm to the developers, while “substantial,” would not outweigh this harm. Regarding arguments that failure to grant an injunction would have a negative climate impact, the court stated: “The question now is not whether climate change or direct construction poses a greater environmental threat; nor is the question what impact the Initiative will have on future economic investment in Maine. The question is whether, during the likely short lived litigation period, the harm from entering or refusing to enter a preliminary injunction will be worse.” The court concluded the balance of harm favored the defendants. The case is now before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, sitting as the Law Court, in which it decides appeals on questions of law that arise in cases in the lower courts. Initial briefs from the initiative’s opponents are due February 28, 2022. 11/24/2021 Opposition Download Opposition filed by state defendants to plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction. 11/03/2021 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Company Constructing Transmission Line for Canadian Hydropower Challenged Maine Law. The owner of the New England Clean Energy Connection transmission line corridor (NECEC) and its parent company filed a lawsuit in state court in Maine challenging a state law passed via direct initiative in early November 2021 that would retroactively ban completion and operation of the NECEC. The plaintiffs asserted that the law deprives the owner of its vested rights under federal and state permits, violates the Maine Constitution’s provision regarding separation of powers, and violates the prohibitions in the Maine and U.S. Constitutions on impairment of contracts. The plaintiffs alleged that the project, which would bring 1,200 megawatts of hydropower from Québec into Maine and the New England electric grid, would reduce greenhouse gas emissions “by the equivalent of removing 700,000 cars from the road each year the Project is in service.” 11/03/2021 Motion Download Motion for preliminary injunction filed.