Heavy machinery is used to cut trees to widen an existing Central Maine Power power line corridor to make way for new utility poles, April 26, 2021, near Bingham, Maine. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

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The results of the Question 1 vote make it clear that the voters wished to punish Central Maine Power for its history of billing and customer service failures, which were, in large part, self-inflicted.

However, the law that was passed by the voters should be a matter of concern for anyone interested in clean energy development or attracting business investment to Maine. The effect of the law is to nullify lawfully obtained permits after many millions were spent on construction, in compliance with those permits.

Those opposed to the clean energy corridor (including the oil and gas industry that bears responsibility for recently announced electric rate hikes here in Maine) will celebrate this. But this law also sends a message to the next large clean energy project: you’d better think twice about investing in Maine. It doesn’t help us make the big steps needed to address the climate crisis.

So, it is important for the third branch of our constitutional government to weigh in on the constitutionality of this law before it takes effect.

Voters sent CMP an unambiguous shutoff notice. Let’s hope that it doesn’t trigger a blackout of our efforts to address the climate crisis.

Tom Rumpf

Licensed Maine forester