The upcoming November referenda authorizing $13.5 billion in borrowing charged to the electricity consumer’s credit card and cosigned by Maine taxpayers to convert Central Maine Power and Versant into a government-owned electric grid controlled by the climate Stasi looks to be an epic spending and ideological battle with existential stakes for freedom and prosperity.
The climate alarmists have played this beautifully and they have a real chance to destroy what is left of Maine’s economic freedom and future prospects. For more than 30 years, the climate cultists, allied with the Democratic Party, the environmental left, the legacy media and academia, have pursued a war on fossil fuels and policies which have steadily raised the price of energy, decreased the reliability of the electric grid and convinced a large portion of the electorate that global warming is an apocalyptic problem requiring immediate and drastic action to save the planet. The consequence of higher electric bills and an unreliable grid has made CMP and Versant extremely unpopular and vulnerable to a referenda takeover. A few Republicans have refused to drink the green Kool-Aid; sadly, that does not include Sen. Susan Collins.
The fact that the cultists’ prescribed policy therapies Kyoto (1998), the New England Governors/Eastern Canadian Premiers Climate Change Action Plan (2001), Governor Mills’ Climate Change Action Plan (2019) and Net Zero (2021) would avert essentially no detectable global warming whatsoever is rarely if ever mentioned.
According to Yale economist and Nobel laureate William Nordhaus, emissions reduction policies will raise energy prices and return at most ten cents in averted global warming costs for every dollar spent, and much less as we futilely pursue net zero. Mainers are being asked to put $13.5 Billion in the climate cultist’s collection plate. The return will be higher electric rates, a less reliable grid controlled by climate partisans, and, under the banner of “beneficial electrification” touted by Gov. Mill’s policy guru Hannah Pingree, surveillance of your energy use and carbon footprint, with corrective remedial action as necessary to save the planet.
On the bright side, Maine will probably have a Black Rock approved high ESG and social credit score, even as our actual credit rating craters
In a sign of the epic stakes, mid-June brought a push poll on the upcoming referenda. The twenty-minute telephone poll asked about voting position and attitudes towards Pine Tree Power, public power, debt, Gov. Mills, CMP, Avangrid and Versant. Then a series of statements/arguments being advanced by both sides was read, with each statement followed by an inquiry into whether and to what degree the argument had affected your position. Both sides of this fight are motivated and well financed. That’s good news for those poised to benefit from advertising expenditures, but bad news for political truth. The climate cultists proponents point to evil foreign corporate for-profit villains and omit their role in raising energy prices and destabilizing the grid; the opponents have so far ignored the climate cultists culpability, preferring not to poke that green hornet’s nest.
Almost 25 years ago, I stood in the Hall of Flags and opposed Rep. Chellie Pingree’s $50 million public lands bond as green on the outside and red on the inside by slicing a watermelon with a machete. Pine Tree Power is an even bigger and more insidious watermelon, calling for almost 30 times more conversion of privately owned means of production to government ownership and control.