Friday, August 21, 2020
Contact: Kristen Schulze Muszynski
Office: 207-626-8400/ Cell: 207-441-7638

Secretary Dunlap: Energy transmission project question will not go to voters, per court ruling

Avangrid v. Secretary of State: Court Order 082120

AUGUSTA – The citizens’-initiated Resolve “To Reject the New England Clean Energy Connect Transmission Project” will not appear on the Nov. 3 ballot, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap announced today.

The Maine Superior Court today issued its declaratory judgment that this citizens’ initiative “fails to meet the constitutional requirements for inclusion on the ballot because it exceeds the scope of the legislative powers conferred by … the Constitution.”

The declaratory judgment follows the Maine Supreme Judicial Court’s decision of August 13, 2020 , finding that the transmission project initiative “is unconstitutional and cannot be submitted to the electors for popular vote.”

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the NECEC initiative “exceeds the scope of legislative powers” granted to the people in the Maine Constitution, as the initiative does not propose legislative action, but rather a reversal of an administrative decision made by a State commission and upheld by the Court on appeal. Therefore, the initiative does not meet the constitutional prerequisite that an initiative be legislative in nature, the court ruled.

Based on this decision and the final declaratory judgment, Secretary Dunlap will not be including the initiative question on the Nov. 3 ballot, as the court decision supersedes the department’s previous finding that petitioners had gathered enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.