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Maine votes to ban international affect after Hydro-Québec marketing campaign

Hydro-Québec spent $22 million in a failed try to cease a 2021 referendum to halt New England Clear Power Join, a cross-border hydropower transmission challenge.

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PORTLAND, Maine — Maine voters overwhelmingly supported a poll initiative Tuesday to cease international spending in referendums, after a challenge involving Hydro-Québec prompted the Quebec utility to spend cash on a earlier referendum marketing campaign in opposition to it.

With greater than half of votes counted Tuesday night, the measure had 86 per cent help.

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The measure was meant to shut a loophole in federal election regulation, which Hydro-Québec exploited to guard its ventures within the state.

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Hydro-Québec spent $22 million in a failed try to cease a 2021 referendum to halt New England Clear Power Join, a cross-border hydropower transmission challenge during which the utility stood to earn $10 billion.

Federal election regulation prevents international governments and entities from spending cash to affect candidate elections, but there’s no such ban masking state referendums.

With the approval, Maine turns into the tenth state to ban international spending in state poll initiatives, stated Aaron McKean, authorized counsel for the non-profit, non-partisan Marketing campaign Authorized Heart in Washington, D.C.

A Hydro-Québec spokesperson stated the spending was essential to counter assaults from “out-of-state oil and gasoline corporations — or teams funded by them.”

Although Maine voters rejected the challenge within the 2021 referendum, it was nonetheless allowed to maneuver ahead after a jury concluded that the referendum violated the developer’s constitutional rights.

Building on the challenge began in January 2021, about 10 months earlier than the referendum during which 59 per cent of voters rejected the challenge. Its objective is to provide as much as 1,200 megawatts of Quebec hydropower to the New England energy grid, sufficient electrical energy for 1 million houses.

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Map of New England Clean Energy Connect project, which would involve a new corridor from the border near Lac-Mégantic to The Forks, Maine, then follow an existing corridor through Farmington and Lewiston toward the south.

Tuesday’s referendum bans international governments, or corporations with 5 per cent or extra international authorities possession, from donating to future referendum races.

Republican state Sen. Rick Bennett led the marketing campaign to place the proposal on the poll after a legislative proposal was vetoed by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills.

“It’s one of many biggest scourges in politics,” Bennett stated Tuesday night. “We’ve to cope with that earlier than we will cope with the opposite host of points.”

Versant, Maine’s second-biggest electrical utility, is owned by the town of Calgary. However its largest electrical utility, Central Maine Energy, a subsidiary of Spanish utility Iberdrola, stated its minority shareholders owned by international governments collectively fall under the 5 per cent threshold.

Additionally on the poll was a separate referendum that might oust each investor-owned utilities and exchange them with a non-profit utility known as Pine Tree Energy. However voters rejected that proposal, with 71 per cent voting in opposition to.

The vote got here amid intense criticism of Central Maine Energy over its sluggish response to storm-related energy outages, a botched billing system rollout and perceived roadblocks to connecting renewable energy initiatives to the grid, amongst different issues.

Critics stated there’s no assure the non-profit utility would carry out any higher, whereas the transfer may spark lawsuits and shopping for out the prevailing utilities may price billions — as a lot as US$13.5 billion.

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