Chuck Noyes, far right, owner of Noyes Family Farm, sits on a tractor wheel and listens to farmers speak in opposition to a proposed transmission corridor during a protest on Main Street in Albion on July 19. Residents at a special town meeting this week voted to approve a moratorium on utility projects as officials work up regulations meant to counteract the impact of the proposed Aroostook Renewable Gateway Project. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel file

ALBION — Residents at a special town meeting this week voted to approve a moratorium on utility lines and corridors that town officials say is meant to send a signal to the Missouri-based power company that’s proposing a transmission corridor through the region extending from Aroostook County.

The Select Board had previously approved sending the question to residents who OK’d the moratorium in a vote Monday. About 50 people voted and all were in support of the measure.

“The 90-day moratorium will give the town adequate time to work on an ordinance to mitigate the impact of any potential utility corridor,” said Thomas Bolen, who’s chairman of a panel called the Albion Transmission Line Committee.

He said any ordinance that’s adopted will seek to regulate utility projects ranging from the high-impact one proposed by LS Power to smaller, more standard utility work in town.

“It sends a message to LS Power that we’re not going to simply do nothing, but rather take time to think this through and act properly and appropriately,” Bolen said.

The Aroostook Renewable Gateway Project, proposed by LS Power Grid Maine, a subsidiary of LS Power, would extend transmission lines across some 150 miles to tap into northern Maine’s robust wind power resources. Aroostook County lacks a connection to New England’s electric grid, but the project would change that.

Gov. Janet Mills signed off on a bill in June providing momentum to the high-voltage corridor. Supporters tout, among other things, the jobs the project would generate in northern Maine, but central Maine farmers say its construction could destroy farms that families have operated for generations by clearing productive agricultural land and driving down property values.

Should the project receive the various permits and approvals that are still needed, land-clearing would be scheduled for 2026 with the transmission of power through the corridor up and running by late 2028.

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