Board of Environmental Protection Considering California Rules Mandating Electric Vehicle Sales

 Rep. Caleb Ness (R-Fryeburg)

Recently many people became aware of an obscure provision in Maine law that allows unelected bureaucrats the ability to impose costly regulations on Maine people without a vote by elected representatives. 

Under Maine law, a state agency is required to consider a rule change if citizens submit 150 signatures to that agency. 

That provision was triggered recently when environmental groups submitted enough signatures to have the unelected Maine Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) consider adoption of the “California Rule.” Under the proposed rule, car dealers would be subject to mandatory electric vehicle (EV) sales, requiring that 43% of new sales in the 2027 model year be EVs; increasing to 82% in new EV sales by the year 2032. Currently, Maine only generates about 5% sales from electric vehicles.

If adopted, this rule has the potential to devastate the Maine economy and needlessly hurt citizens already living paycheck to paycheck.

I am not opposed to people buying electric cars and trucks if they can afford them. That is a personal choice. I am opposed to artificially limiting peoples options and making gas powered vehicles even more expensive that they already are.

A public hearing was held on August 17. The public response was overwhelming. Republican legislators and the public helped spread the word, testified in person at the hearing, and submitted written testimony in opposition to the proposed rule.

Now it is up to BEP members to decide on whether or not to adopt the “California Rule.” I hope they have the good sense to reject the rule, but I am concerned about the ability of unelected state agencies to adopt rules that have unimaginable consequences.

In this case, the rule would increase the price of everything, since virtually all goods in Maine travel by road. EVs are not suitable for Maine winters and long distances. There is also a lack of adequate charging stations, especially in rural Maine. Many more issues were raised during the lengthy public hearing. 

The proposed California rules are an extreme proposal that would destroy Maine people’s standard of living. Consumers should make their own decisions on whether or not to buy expensive electric vehicles, not unelected bureaucrats  

This coming session, I hope that the Legislature will seriously look at this statutory petition provision and require that major rule changes of this kind be voted on by elected representatives before becoming law. 

Thank you for the opportunity to represent you in the Maine House. Please feel free to contact me at Caleb.Ness@legislature.maine.gov or call 207 287-1440 if I can be of assistance.

Sincerely, 

Rep. Caleb Ness (R-Fryeburg)

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