Quantcast

Meet the Governor Who Crippled His State's Solar Energy Future

Business

The future of solar energy in Maine was left in the hands of Gov. Paul LePage this month, but he decided to drop it.

LePage vetoed L.D. 1252, a bill that would have helped create more than 1,250 new solar panel and hot water projects at homes and businesses across the state. Those additions would have come at a tax that he deemed to expensive to pay—0.011 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage, who once told the president to "go to hell," has vetoed a solar energy bill. Photo credit: Paul LePage/Facebook

“This is a particularly painful time to impose an additional tax on electricity,” LePage wrote in a veto message uploaded by Bangor Daily News. “Energy taxes are regressive and disproportionately hurt our low-income households. This bill would impose the tax on thousands of hardworking families just to provide the few who have the means to purchase a $20,000 solar system with a rebate of an estimated $2,000.”

In the eyes of renewable energy advocates, LePage's veto also means passing on the private investments that usually follow after government shows confidence in a burgeoning technology. Dylan Voorhees, clean energy director of the Natural Resources Council of Maine, estimates that the bill would have fostered nearly $25 million in private investments in the state over time.

“The governor’s rhetoric on this bill does not match reality," Voorhees said in a statement. "If high electric rates are a concern, then it is essential that we change course from building an increasingly expensive transmission grid only to meet summer peak demand (and boost utility profits). Rooftop solar can help cut that demand and reduce costs borne by all ratepayers.

“The governor and his allies used the tiny, immediate cost of this bill to justify a do-nothing strategy that will cost Maine far more."

Voorhees added that Maine is behind other states when it comes to solar energy. According to a Vote Solar and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council report on net metering and interconnection, Maine achieved a ‘B' grade, thought report accounts for other renewable forms, too.

"Solar is booming in states around us, and why Maine is now at real risk of continuing to pay more in rates," Voorhees said. "If heating oil costs are a concern, then solar is part of the solution, too.

"Main street companies like the Bucksport Motor Inn have used solar to slash their oil consumption for hot water heating."

The bill was sponsored by State Rep. Terry Morrison, D-South Portland, and passed by wide margins in the state Senate (21-12) and House (109-30).

“We simply can’t afford to ignore solar energy, which is renewable, clean and helps keep down electricity bills that are rising because of the expansion of transmission and distribution lines,” Morrison said. “This veto is even more baffling because a Republican amendment improved the bill by adding heat pump rebates for low-income Mainers.”

Earlier this year, Politico declared LePage "the country's craziest governor," citing crude sexual remarks about a state senator, the sabotage of a wind energy project and publicly telling President Barack Obama to "go to hell."

——–

YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE

10 States That Led Solar Energy to a Monumental Year

Future of Offshore Wind Could Be Shaped By Key Approval in Maine

——–

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

PhotoAlto / Laurence Mouton / Getty Images

By Ana Reisdorf, MS, RD

You've probably heard the buzz around collagen supplements and your skin by now. But is the hype really that promising? After all, research has pointed to both the benefits and downsides of collagen supplements — and for many beauty-conscious folk, collagen isn't vegan.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Marlene Cimons

Neil Pederson's introduction to tree rings came from a "sweet and kindly" college instructor, who nevertheless was "one of the most boring professors I'd ever experienced," Pederson said. "I swore tree rings off then and there." But they kept coming back to haunt him.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Aerial view of the explosion site of a chemical factory on March 22 in Yancheng, Jiangsu Province of China. Caixin Media / VCG / Getty Images)

At least 47 people have died in an explosion at a plant in Yancheng, China Thursday run by a chemical company with a history of environmental violations, Sky News reported.

Read More Show Less
A fishmonger in Elmina, a fishing port in the Central Region of Ghana. Environmental Justice Foundation

By Daisy Brickhill

Each morning, men living in fishing communities along Ghana's coastline push off in search of the day's catch. But when the boats come back to shore, it's the women who take over.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Sam Nickerson

Links between excess sugar in your diet and disease have been well-documented, but new research by Harvard's School of Public Health might make you even more wary of that next soda: it could increase your risk of an early death.

The study, published this week in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation, found that drinking one or two sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) each day — like sodas or sports drinks — increases risk of an early death by 14 percent.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Krystal B / Flickr

Tyson Foods is recalling approximately 69,093 pounds of frozen chicken strips because they may have been contaminated with pieces of metal, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Thursday.

The affected products were fully-cooked "Buffalo Style" and "Crispy" chicken strips with a "use by" date of Nov. 30, 2019 and an establishment number of "P-7221" on the back of the package.

"FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumers' freezers," the recall notice said. "Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase."

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Hrefna Palsdottir, MS

Cold cereals are an easy, convenient food.

Read More Show Less
A tractor spraying a field with pesticides in Orem, Utah. Aqua Mechanical / CC BY 2.0

Environmental exposure to pesticides, both before birth and during the first year of life, has been linked to an increased risk of developing autism spectrum disorder, according to the largest epidemiological study to date on the connection.

The study, published Wednesday in BMJ, found that pregnant women who lived within 2,000 meters (approximately 1.2 miles) of a highly-sprayed agricultural area in California had children who were 10 to 16 percent more likely to develop autism and 30 percent more likely to develop severe autism that impacted their intellectual ability. If the children were exposed to pesticides during their first year of life, the risk they would develop autism went up to 50 percent.

Read More Show Less