MONTREAL  — Several tribes are threatening to sue to stop construction on the Canadian side of the border on a transmission corridor that aims to provide hydropower to the New England power grid.

The New England Clean Energy Connect calls for a 145-mile transmission line in Maine to bring electricity produced by Hydro-Quebec to the New England grid. But it also requires 64 miles of new transmission lines in Quebec.

If the plan isn’t scuttled, then the tribes intend to sue in provincial court. The five tribes comprised of the Anishnabeg, Atilamekw and Innu nations represent about 7,000 people, Maine Public reported.

The Canadian transmission line would not cross tribal land, but the tribes contend that more than a third of the electricity will be produced from dams on land the tribes never ceded to the Canadian government.

To meet the U.S. needs, Hydro-Quebec will likely further stress ecosystems that the tribes depend on for sustenance, said Lucien Wabanonik, spokesperson for the tribes.

“We’re saying ‘enough is enough’ and you need to respect the rights of our peoples,’” Wabanonik said.

A Hydro-Quebec spokesperson says the challenge is not valid because the transmission line is far from tribal lands, and will not require changes in minimum or maximum reservoir levels.

She also said “no new generation facilities are needed” to provide the added energy supply to the U.S.


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