Credit: WGME | CBS 13

Central Maine Power is gearing up to beat back a potential referendum on its controversial power line through western Maine.

Opponents of the project last week began collecting signatures in hopes of putting its approval in the hands of voters in 2020. CMP responded by forming its own political action committee, Clean Energy Matters.

The PAC’s funding has so far come from CMP’s parent company, Avangrid, and it has already spent $145,000 on polling to gauge support for the project, which is designed to help Massachusetts meet its renewable energy goals.

The PAC’s lead decision-maker is Jon Breed, the former campaign manager for Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Golden of Maine’s 2nd District.

Breed confirmed to Maine Public Radio that he will not work for Golden’s campaign next year.

Golden is not taking a position on the transmission project, but recently notified the Army Corps of Engineers, an agency involved in the permit process, that it should hold a public hearing to hear from constituents.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.