Sierra Club Maine Statement Regarding Pine Tree Power Loss

On November 7 2023, Maine’s ballot Question 3 failed to pass. However, this does not change the reality that CMP and Versant are among the worst-rated utilities in the country, that they sent 1 in 10 Mainers disconnection notices this past year, and that they are obstructing clean energy progress in Maine. 

Here at Sierra Club Maine, we’re taking time to rest and reflect on the election result, but we know the movement for energy democracy doesn’t end here. 

In response to the election loss, Jonathan Fulford, Sierra Club Maine Volunteer, shares: 

“This is rough. To work so hard, to hope so big, to care this much, and still to lose—this is hard. If this hurts, if this feels devastating, if this makes the world look even more hopeless, you are not alone. 

Grief and rage are appropriate in the face of loss. To stand up for what you believe in takes courage. To continue in spite of setbacks takes so much heart. 

And heart is exactly what we will need to win next time. So I encourage you all to feel this loss and express your disappointment in ways that will keep you alive, tender, caring, and dreaming big. 

We all know we need change this big. And even bigger. We will be challenging many powerful forces on our path to a good future for all. And we will need to do this together.”

While acknowledging our disappointment, we would also like to express our gratitude for the people and organizations that built and contributed to the Pine Tree Power campaign. We also want to give special thanks to the Sierra Club Maine volunteers who wrote Letters to the Editor, canvassed, and talked with their communities about Pine Tree Power. Against $40 million in campaign spending from Maine’s investor-owned utilities, the Pine Tree Power campaign held strong, continuing to highlight the injustices that our utilities perpetrate against Maine ratepayers. The campaign reported that over half of the undecided voters they spoke to shifted to support Pine Tree Power.  The incredible strides in grassroots organizing have laid the foundation for future success in Maine and other campaigns nationwide. 

To meet climate goals, Maine will need to electrify our transportation and heating sectors and dramatically build out the size of the electric grid, requiring a utility and a grid that will allow for swift and equitable transition. The people of Maine and the planet need us to stay in this fight. 

We look forward to discussing next steps with the volunteers, campaign staff, and organizers who worked on this campaign and continuing advocacy for energy democracy, justice, and a better Maine.