Senate Republicans uphold LePage veto of solar energy bill

By Elizabeth Dickerson | Apr 17, 2014

Augusta, Maine — This is a copy of a letter I am sending to the dozens of my constituents who have written to me asking me to support this bill.

Elizabeth E. Dickerson

260 West Meadow Road

Rockland, Me 04841

207-317-7565 (Cell)

207-596-0028 (Residence)

 

 

April 17, 2014

 

Dear Solar Energy Proponent,

 

Thank you for your continued advocacy of solar energy at the State level.

 

It is with some degree of frustration that I write to you to inform you that yesterday, the Maine State Senate upheld a gubernatorial veto of LD 1252, “An Act to Improve Maine’s Economy and Energy Security with Solar and Wind Energy.”

 

Sponsored by Representative Terry Morrison of Portland

Cosponsored By:

Representative CHENETTE of Saco
Senator GRATWICK of Penobscot
Representative HAMANN of South Portland
Representative HOBBINS of Saco
Senator MILLETT of Cumberland
Representative NELSON of Falmouth
Representative TIPPING-SPITZ of Orono

 

The bill initially faced opposition from House Republicans, because of a tax credit involved that could be claimed perhaps by people who were not in the Low to Moderate Income range. The bill did pass the House with a majority vote, but the governor vetoed the bill.

 

Given that in the House, we try our best to come to compromise in order to put forward helpful legislation- in this case, legislation that would have encouraged Maine’s people to save on energy costs and move us away from our fossil fuel dependence- the bill was amended so that the tax credit applied only to people in the low to moderate income range. Therefore, many House Republicans chose to support the bill, given that it just made good policy sense, and we had arrived at a compromise- which is what you people want us to do- work together and come to compromise for Maine’s people.

 

However, the governor vetoed this version of the bill, too. We handily over-rode his veto in the House, but, given that the bill had to go to the Senate for a vote, as well, the Senate Republicans chose to uphold the chief executive’s veto rather than support the work of their own colleagues in the House. The bill died an unfortunate death yesterday.

 

As you probably know, we have several solar energy companies and contractors who live in District #47 who are currently traveling to other states in New England, states that recognize that good policy encourages the transition to clean energy. I have worked hard in the Maine House to bring those companies and contractors home. Some of you have traveled to the State House to meet with me and with members of the Energy and Utilities Committee, and some of you participated in Solar Energy Day at the State House.

 

As I continue to work for the people of District #47 this summer, and as I campaign and ask for your vote in the newly formed District #93, which will include all of Rockland and all of Owl’s Head, I will not stop pushing for energy policy that helps Maine’s environment while helping Maine’s people move away from expensive fossil fuels. In my work as a Rockland City Councilor, I worked to bring the Efficiency Maine PACE program to our municipality, in order to help people weatherize their homes and transition to more efficient sources of energy- in many cases, people who could not have afforded to do so otherwise, and who were watching their hard earned dollars go up the chimney. I couldn’t have been more proud when one of our homes in Rockland was the site of the very first PACE energy efficiency upgrade project in the entire state.

 

Thank you for your continued support during a very difficult session. I’m proud to report that at least on LD 1252, the Maine House worked hard to find bipartisan compromise. If only the Maine Senate had followed suit.

 

The following are the names of the Senate Republicans who voted to uphold the governor’s veto. Please write to them or call the State House.

 

Youngblood of Penobscot

Whittemore of Somerset

Thomas of Somerset

Thibodeau of Waldo

Sherman of Aroostook

Plummer of Cumberland

Mason of Androscoggin

Katz of Kennebec

Hamper of Oxford

Flood of Kennebec

Cushing of Penobscot

Collins of York

Burns of Washington

Maine State Senate 3 State House Station Augusta, Maine 04333

Toll Free: (800) 423-6900
Main Line: (207) 287-1540
Fax Line: (207) 287-1900

I don’t have specific email addresses, but you can use a contact form located here:

 

http://legisweb1.mainelegislature.org/wp/senate/find-your-senator/

 

Thank you.

 

Rep. Elizabeth Dickerson

District #47

Rockland and part of Owl’s Head

 

 

 

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