Update from Board Executive Analyst Regarding Appeals of the NECEC Project

Maine Department of Environmental Protection

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November 24, 2021

Update from Board Executive Analyst Regarding Appeals of the NECEC Project

In light of recent and on-going administrative and judicial proceedings regarding the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) Project, this provides a general update on the status of appeals pending before the Board of Environmental Protection (Board) related to the NECEC Project.

On May 11, 2020, the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) conditionally approved the permit applications of Central Maine Power Company (CMP) to construct the NECEC project (NECEC Order). On December 4, 2020, the Commissioner approved the application of CMP and NECEC Transmission LLC to partially transfer to NECEC Transmission LLC the NECEC Order (Transfer Order).

Three appeals of the NECEC Order are pending with the Board: appeals by the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM), NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, and the West Forks Group.[1]  NRCM also filed an appeal to the Board of the Transfer Order. The Board has consolidated these appeals and will process them together.

Neither the Commissioner’s decision on November 23, 2021, to suspend the NECEC License nor the on-going court proceedings affect the Board’s obligation to process the appeals. The Board will continue to process the appeals as expeditiously as possible for a decision. It is noted that the evidentiary record to be considered by the Board in deciding the appeals is closed; no new evidence, including public comment, may be considered by the Board at this time. Any new comments submitted to the Board regarding these appeals must be rejected as untimely.

The DEP staff will assemble a packet of materials for the Board, including a staff recommendation in the form of a proposed Board Order. Once available, a copy of the Board packet materials and an agenda with the meeting schedule, location, and date will be posted on the Board’s website https://www.maine.gov/dep/bep/index.html. At this time, the Board anticipates scheduling its consideration of the appeals in early 2022.

It is further noted that on June 7, 2021, the NRCM filed with the Board an appeal of the May 7, 2021, Order of the DEP Commissioner conditionally approving a minor revision application of CMP and NECEC Transmission LLC (Minor Revision Order). NRCM’s appeal of the Minor Revision Order will not be consolidated with the other pending appeals and instead will be processed separately, on its own procedural track, following a decision on the NECEC Order and Transfer Order appeals. The evidentiary record for that appeal is also closed.

Contact: Board Executive Analyst William F. Hinkel, bill.hinkel@maine.gov (207) 314-1458.

[1] West Forks Group is comprised of persons who intervened in the Department licensing proceeding and who are now represented by Elizabeth A. Boepple, Esq., of Murray Plumb & Murray. Appellants in the West Forks Group are: Kathy Barkley, Ed Buzzell, Carrie Carpenter, Town of Caratunk, Mandy Farrer, Noah Hale, Hawk’s Nest Lodge, Kennebec River Anglers, Kim Lyman, Maine Guide Service, Mike Pilsbury, Eric Sherman, Matt Wagner, and West Forks Plantation.