Here’s the latest legislative report from Maine Conservation Voters.
What an incredible legislative session we’ve had so far this year! And it’s been such a great success because of dedicated conservation voters like you who have supported our work and joined us to urge lawmakers to protect Maine, promote clean energy, and tackle the climate crisis.
We’re down to the wire with only days to go (and many of our priority bills are on the governor’s desk awaiting signature!), so we wanted to send you an update on what’s happening in Augusta.
Important clean energy initiatives
So. Many. Climate. Clean. Energy. Bills! This legislative session has been chock full of priority legislation to promote clean, renewable energy for Maine, and we’re so excited to see these bills continue to move forward. Here’s a quick rundown, and by no means an exhaustive list:
- After thousands of MCV members signed our petition, LD 1679: An Act To Promote Clean Energy Jobs and To Establish the Maine Climate Council received a unanimous “ought to pass” report in the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, was enacted by the House, and sent to the Appropriations Committee for funding. This bill requires an 80% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and creates a Climate Council (with subject area working groups) to determine how to achieve the goal. The bill will be funded and sent back to the Senate for final enactment at the end of the legislative session.
- Again, thanks to the activism of our members and our allies, LD 1494: An Act To Reform Maine’s Renewable Portfolio Standard—which would double the amount of clean energy sold in the state to 80% by 2030 and 100% by 2050—received an 11-1 vote by the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee and is headed to the full legislature any day now.
- Solar policy is finally coming! LD 1711: An Act To Promote Solar Energy Projects and Distributed Generation Resources in Maine would dramatically expand solar power investment and access to solar power for low and moderate income families. It will help businesses, towns, and people in every corner of the state lower energy costs by increasing access to solar power and creating good-quality, new jobs. The bill received a 10-2 vote by the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee and is headed to the full legislature very soon.
- Funding for bonds is upcoming. LD 1119: A Bond to Support Investments in Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in Municipalities and Schools is a $10 million bond to provide Maine towns and cities with matching grants to invest in clean energy and energy efficiency projects. It will be heard on Monday, June 17th at 1:00 PM.
- Off-shore wind can become a reality again. LD 994: A Resolve to Require the Approval by the Public Utilities Commission of a Proposal for a Long-term Contract for Deep-water Offshore Wind Energy has been enacted by the House and will be enacted by the Senate soon.
- LD 1282: An Act to Establish a Green New Deal for Maine requires that a percentage of construction workers on grid scale energy projects be apprentices, and that new schools are incentivized to install solar and energy conservation measures.
Protecting Maine’s water and environment
A number of bills to protect Maine’s natural resources are either waiting for the Governor’s signature or moving quickly through the State House.
· A significant new $95 million bond package for the Land for Maine’s Future program (LMF) and Maine Parks and Lands, LD 911: A Bond to Promote Land Conservation, Working Waterfronts, Water Access and Outdoor Recreation, will provide funding that will protect access to mountains, rivers, lakes and forests. The hearing will be held on Monday, June 17th at 1:00 PM.
· Two bills to protect water and waterways in Maine—LD 1743: An Act To Reclassify Certain Waters of the State and LD 1775: An Act to Protect Sustenance Fishing—have been enacted by the legislature and are waiting for the Governor’s signature. Combined, these bills upgrade water classification for many rivers, streams, and lakes, and create a new ‘sustenance fishing’ designated use in several water bodies important to Maine’s tribes.
Toxic packaging and plastic pollution
With a lot of education, lobbying, and grassroots support from environmental activists like you, two landmark bills to protect Maine from toxic chemicals and pollution passed the legislature this session. One has become law and the other is awaiting the Governor’s signature.
· Maine will become the third state in the nation to ban single-use plastic bags (LD 1532: An Act To Eliminate Single-use Plastic Carry-out Bags) when the bill is signed into law. The legislation passed through the State House earlier this year and is currently sitting on Gov. Mills’ desk.
· We all agree that Maine families deserve food that is not wrapped in harmful chemicals. That’s why we are excited about LD 1433: An Act To Protect the Environment and Public Health by Further Reducing Toxic Chemicals in Packaging. This legislation will ensure food on our shelves is in safer packaging and will better protect our health and environment. Despite heavy lobbying by the chemical industry, the bill was enacted and signed into law by the Governor just yesterday!
You can learn more about Maine Conservation Voters on their website: