Sen. Joe Baldacci (D-Penobscot) offered searing criticism of Gov. Janet Mills during May 23 committee hearings, alleging that the governor has broken a public campaign promise she made during her re-election campaign.
“I would note that the governor signed the energy choice pledge during the campaign last year, which was pretty explicit, and which is basically reflected by this bill,” Baldacci said, during a hearing of the State and Local Government Committee.
Baldacci made his comments in regard to LD 894, a bill that would prohibit municipal governments from passing local ordinances or regulations that ban the use of oil or natural gas.
The Governor’s Energy Office testified against the bill.
“So it comes as a surprise the governor’s office is now advising us that the governor should be breaking her pledge was very public pledge. It was very much highlighted in the campaign. And it’s on record and it’s online,” Baldacci said.
The pledge in question is one devised by the Maine Energy Marketers Association. Below is the copy signed by Gov. Mills.
Despite signing a pledge during her re-election campaign indicating she would not support efforts to limit Maine residents and businesses from choosing oil or natural gas, Caroline Colan, the legislative liaison from Mills’ energy office, said Mills opposed the legislation.
“To meet Maine’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, large portions of the energy used in our economy will need to be converted from higher emitting sources, like fossil fuels, to low carbon resources and electricity — a transition referred to as “beneficial electrification” — and this electricity must increasingly come from cleaner generation sources,” said Colan.
Baldacci disagreed with that take on emissions.
“And I don’t see for the life of me how this would interrupt anybody’s climate goals,” said Baldacci, adding that the governor’s original climate plan did not include municipal governments banning certain energy forms.
“I think it calls into question whether or not the governor’s wishing to break her promise,” he said.