BEP vote to mandate electric vehicle sales fails

 Rep. Caleb Ness (R-Fryeburg) for Fryeburg Matters

At its March 20 meeting, the Maine Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) voted not to pursue the “California Rule” proposal requiring electric vehicles sales starting in 2028. If it had been adopted, Maine would be on the path toward eliminating gas-powered cars by making them scarce and more expensive. .

In earlier reports, I expressed concern that four unelected Board of Environmental Protection members (BEP) could take such a major action without a vote from our elected officials. The BEP voted against a similar move regarding trucks last year after over eighty percent of public testimony was against both mandates. When the December deadline for acting on the rule governing cars expired without a required formal vote, the BEP reopened public comment until March 5.  

Since that time, the Legislative Council then allowed legislative consideration of LD 2261, “An Act Designating New Motor Vehicle Emissions Rules as Major Substantive Rules. If this bill passes, similar proposals will require a vote by the legislature before being adopted. That would prevent 150 people circulating a petition and then having a rule adopted by 4 unelected people on a board nominated by the Governor.

The public needs to have a say in such matters through their elected representatives.  

I am glad that the outpouring of public pressure against the mandate resulted in the defeat of such an extreme proposal. To be clear, I am not against electric vehicles. If people want to buy electric vehicles, that should be their choice. Mandating their sale would have devastating consequences for the Maine economy and citizens struggling to survive.

I expect that this issue is not over and that similar proposals to limit consumer choices through government mandates will continue. I encourage everyone to share their opinion on these and other issues.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of assistance with state matters. I can be reached at Caleb.Ness@legislature.maine.gov or call 207 287-1440. Thank you for your interest reading this, your input and support.

Sincerely, Rep. Caleb Ness (R-Fryeburg)

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