PORTLAND, Maine (AP) – A judge declined Monday to remove a referendum on a $1 billion hydropower transmission project from the November ballot, ruling that constitutional questions can be addressed later if the referendum is enacted.
Superior Court Justice Thomas Warren said in his ruling that the lawsuit raises important questions about the separation of powers under the Maine Constitution but said the “substantive challenges to the validity of the proposed initiative may not be reviewed at this time.”
The lawsuit brought by Avangrid, the parent company of Central Maine Power, contends the Maine Constitution links referendums to legislative acts, not agency decisions. It also contends the referendum violates the state constitution’s separation of powers.
Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap agrees on the constitutional issue but proposed keeping the matter on the ballot as an advisory referendum.
The referendum was originally envisioned as giving voters the final say on the New England Clean Energy Connect, which has received