Governor Janet Mills vetoed LD 1708, An Act to Create the Pine Tree Power Company. In her veto message, the Governor called the recent performance of Maine’s utilities “abysmal” and said that “it may well be that the time has come for the people of the State of Maine to retake control over the [utilities’] assets”, but she raised several outstanding concerns about the substance of the bill, noting that those concerns combined with a rushed legislative process could create more problems than the bill solves.
Given the far-reaching implications of the proposal on every Maine citizen, the Governor urged the Legislature to slow down, further consider the impacts of such a measure, and address outstanding concerns through a robust public process.
In her veto message, the Governor raised substantive concerns about the bill, including its governance structure, financing mechanisms, wording of the ballot measure, potential for protracted litigation, the manner in which the new authority would be regulated, and likely delays in the attainment of the State’s climate goals.
She noted the rushed nature of the legislative process, including last-minute amendments that did not undergo a thorough vetting through the Legislature that allowed for robust public input and feedback.
She also noted that businesses, various organizations, and community leaders across Maine have expressed concerns about the proposal. Bath Iron Works, one of the state’s largest employers, opposes the bill, along with IBEW Local 567, an electrical union. Mayors from seven Maine communities – Auburn, Lewiston, Augusta, Saco, Biddeford, Westbrook, and Gardiner – all also oppose the bill.
The Governor’s complete veto message (PDF).