A state judge on Friday denied a request that would have allowed construction to resume on the stalled Central Maine Power Co.-supported electricity transmission line through western Maine.

On Wednesday, a lawyer for the New England Clean Energy Connect project sought an injunction to block enforcement of the November 2021 voter referendum halting the work. “It reaches a tipping point” where the $1.4 billion project no longer makes economic sense, John Aromando told Business and Consumer Court Judge Michael A. Duddy.

But on Friday afternoon, Duddy turned down the request, writing in his three-page order: “Although Plaintiffs have warned about an approaching tipping point, after which completion of the Project will no longer be feasible, Plaintiffs have not argued the tipping point will occur while this case is being litigated in the trial court.

“This matter is currently on fast track for trial in April 2023 and prompt trial court decision thereafter. At that point Plaintiffs will either prevail, and be able to resume construction on the Project, or not.”

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled in August that the voter initiative to ban construction of the power line is unconstitutional if NECEC, a subsidiary of CMP parent Avangrid, can convince the courts it has done enough work on the project to have earned “vested rights” in continuing. That will be debated in Duddy’s courtroom in April.

Aromando had said Massachusetts utilities and ratepayers, who are paying for the transmission line, will lose patience and may pull the plug on the work. The line would bring electricity from Canada to a substation in Lewiston, where it would connect to the New England power grid and go to Massachusetts customers.

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