Mainers are ready to protect our people and our planet -- and for the first time in years, our State House is aligning with communities to take bold action on climate.
The 129th Maine Legislature has been marked by landmark legislative wins. On June 26, first-term Governor Janet Mills signed three critical pieces of legislation that will move Maine away from fossil fuels and toward 100% clean, renewable electricity. After years of setbacks and defeats, the passage of policies like this one signals a new day for communities Down East.
In the weeks preceding the passage of these laws, Mainers from over 100 cities and towns joined the Sierra Club in calling on their legislators to pass these bills. Residents of York have been working toward a just and equitable transition to 100% renewable energy. Now, by aligning with municipal-level action for an all-renewable electricity sector, localities and the state can work together to provide clean, affordable power. Maine has joined California, Hawaii, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Washington State, Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, and over 130 US cities by adopting a 100% clean energy goal.
Thanks to Governor Mills and the state legislature, here’s what is now the law in Maine:
LD 1494, which increases the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to 80% renewable energy by 2030 and 100% by 2050
LD 1679, which requires a statewide climate action plan to achieve net annual greenhouse gas emissions reductions by at least 80% by 2050 in addition to creating a Climate Council
LD 614, which incentivizes electric vehicles
LD 658, which aims to make Maine energy independent by 2030 by developing and expanding energy generating capacity, energy conservation, and energy efficiency
LD 994, which supports offshore wind exploration
LD 1282, which increases solar capacity of schools and focuses on a just transition to renewables through workforce development
LD 1711, which expands potential for solar across the state by increasing the number of customers for community solar farms
The historic 2019 legislative session for Maine highlights the need for strong leaders who prioritize the issues that affect everyday people, from lobster fishermen to solar installers.
And while we should celebrate these wins, the work is far from over. We need to push our leaders and go further to ensure that implementation first and foremost centers on the needs of Maine communities, especially low-income families and frontline communities, which are disproportionately affected by rate increases and higher energy burdens. We can’t claim victory until it’s clear no one is being left behind in the energy transition.
We can’t claim victory until it’s clear no one is being left behind in the energy transition.