Cianbro employees guide the top of the first pole of the NECEC hydropower transmission corridor onto its base in this Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, photo. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

The fate of Central Maine Power’s controversial energy corridor through western Maine is now in the hands of the state’s highest court.

Late last week a lower court judge halted his own consideration of a challenge to the law that state voters enacted last year to kill the project, and sent it on to the Supreme Law Court.

Business Court Judge Michael Duddy wrote that he still does not think the challenge by CMP’s parent company, Avangrid Networks, has a substantial chance of prevailing. But he also says its arguments about constitutional issues such as due process, contracts and separation of powers present difficult questions that deserve review at the highest level.

The Law Court has set a deadline of Feb. 28 for briefs by Avangrid and other opponents of the new law, and April 18 for briefs by the state Bureau of Parks and Lands and the law’s supporters. That could push oral arguments into the spring.

Meantime, the state has pulled CMP’s license to continue construction on the billion-dollar power line, until directed otherwise by a court.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.