- Associated Press - Thursday, December 3, 2020

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Central Maine Power is delaying the start of construction on a $1 billion transmission project by several weeks or more while it completes the spinoff of a new company that will own and operate the project, officials said.

The company had intended to start construction as early as this week, and the delay was revealed in testimony during a court hearing Wednesday, Maine Public reported.

A company official said construction of the New England Clean Energy Connect will begin after completion of the establishment of NECEC, LLC. The delay means construction could begin later this month or in January.

“We need a few weeks in order to allow time for some planning matters such as the transfer of the project from CMP to NECEC and to give us enough time to prepare to start the work,” said Thorn Dickinson, president & CEO of NECEC LLC Transmission.

The Sierra Club, Appalachian Mountain Club and Natural Resources Council of Maine are seeking a temporary injunction to bar forest-clearing before their challenge to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is heard in federal court.

The 145-mile (230-kilometer) power line would allow 1,200 megawatts of Canadian hydropower to reach the New England power grid.

Much of the project calls for widening existing corridors, but a new swath would be cut through 53 miles (85 kilometers) of wilderness in western Maine.

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