On Monday, the Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) committee moved forward with LD 1429, An Act To Achieve Carbon Neutrality by 2045. The ENR committee voted 10-3 “ought to pass as amended,” sending it forward to the full Legislature. LD 1429 was carried over from the first session; however, the original draft of LD 1429 was completely different in language and in title – “An Act To Implement the Most Time-Sensitive Recommendations of the Maine Climate Council.”
The Maine State Chamber did not have a position on the original LD 1429, but with the amendment, we submitted a letter in opposition. Our biggest opposition was based on the committee’s procedure and process. This bill was carried over, and an amendment completely replaced the bill and title, then it went right into work session. There was no public hearing on the new title and language of the bill. The Maine State Chamber believes this is not the right process for public policy making because it limits public input in the legislative process. The Chamber raised these procedural concerns in the letter, and also stated that it had a couple of questions it would have liked to ask, if there had been a public hearing.
The first question we would ask is, how is this different from Governor Janet Mills’ Executive Order in 2019 that set this goal? This was already in law. The Maine State Chamber wishes to understand how different LD 1429 is, what enforcement actions there would be if this goal is not reached, and if there are new risks and regulations if violations occur.
The second question involves DEP’s recently changed rules around biomass reporting in Maine, requiring DEP to report net emissions. The inclusion of net emissions requires the DEP to now consider both sequestration as well as biogenic emissions, including the combustion of biomass. Given this DEP rule, it will make it incredibly difficult for Maine to reach the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2045. Biomass is already being built, and if it isn’t considered to be carbon neutral as it was previously, this means Maine will need to develop even more renewable energy to come onto the grid quickly. This will mean increased costs and potential delay of reaching the goals set forward in the Maine Climate Action Plan of 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and 80% by 2050. Maine should not be passing legislation and implementing regulations that will be incredibly difficult to comply with and that will have a negative impact on Maine businesses’ efforts to reach the climate goals.
Ultimately, our concerns were heard, but unfortunately, they did not affect the outcome. The Maine State Chamber of Commerce has been a proud and supportive member of the Maine Climate Council serving on several working groups. We are supportive of many aspects of the Maine Climate Council and will continue to be engaged with the work of the council. Maine businesses stand ready to adapt to the challenges climate change presents. Maine businesses are committed to finding ways to shrink our carbon footprint, and we support the goals aimed at lowering greenhouse gas emissions. We would have liked an opportunity to raise these concerns at a public hearing, but we appreciate the committee allowing us to submit a letter in opposition. As this bill moves towards the House and Senate, we will continue to raise these concerns.
For additional information or questions, please contact Ben Lucas by calling (207) 623-4568, ext. 111, or by emailing email@example.com.