AUGUSTA, Maine — A bipartisan group of Maine lawmakers on Tuesday asked Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker to do everything in his power to terminate a $1 billion hydropower transmission project in Maine that will benefit Massachusetts.
The lawmakers said proceeding with the project against the will of Maine residents could “jeopardize New England’s energy future,” and suggested it could harm future cooperation to tackle climate change.
The 145-mile power line in western Maine, designed to bring up to 1,200 megawatts of Canadian hydropower to the New England power grid, is fully funded by Massachusetts ratepayers to meet the state’s clean energy goals.
But Maine residents rebuked the project in a referendum this month, and construction was temporarily suspended.
In a letter dated Tuesday, 50 Maine lawmakers told the Republican governor that Massachusetts has alternatives.
“Massachusetts has other options it can pursue to reconcile the will of Maine people with your state’s climate aspirations,” the letter said.
Construction started earlier this year with the clearing of trees for the New England Clean Energy Connect.
Most of the transmission line follows existing utility corridors. But a new section needed to be cut through 53 miles of woods to reach the Canadian border.
An email seeking a response was left with a spokesperson for Baker.