Maine appears to be moving toward eliminating gas powered vehicles?

Maine citizens have a right to make informed decisions on issues that affect their everyday lives.  This should apply to everything from educating their children to what kind of car they purchase. Unfortunately, those in control seem intent on limiting our choices and directing our tax dollars towards causes and groups that keep them in power. This disturbing trend is most evident in the recent move toward eliminating gas-powered vehicles. 

I am not against people who choose to buy an electric vehicle and can afford it. It is a matter of consumer choice.

Right now, unelected bureaucrats are on the verge of moving Maine toward elimination of gas powered vehicles. If the unelected Board of Environmental Protection votes to adopt a proposed “California Rule” mandating electric vehicle (EV) sales at its December meeting, car dealers will be required to meet the absurd goal of: 43% of new sales in the 2027 model year be electric vehicles, increasing to 82% of new sales by the year 2032. That move, if adopted would, would put Maine on the path toward elimination of gas-powered vehicles by making then artificially expensive. 

All it took to initiate this insane idea was signatures from 150 “environmentalists” under an obscure provision of Maine law. What followed was a proposed Rule 127-A petition public hearing that drew testimony from 1,600 people. 81% of the testimony was against adopting the “California Rule.” 

Currently, Maine generates less about 6% sales from electric vehicles. The lack of enthusiasm for EVs can be attributed to a number of factors, including: cost, limited charging stations, unsuitability for cold climate, limited range, negligible effect on climate change, and many others raised at the public hearing.  

When confronted with the lack of consumer enthusiasm for EVs, the prevailing Board attitude seemed to be that “the reason that they don’t sell is because we haven’t mandated them.” That attitude is exactly what is wrong with many of the people that control our government or try to determine what is best for us. The fact that unelected bureaucrats have to power to impose draconian measures on us is scary.

Despite the overwhelming opposition of citizens and small businesses to the adoption of the “California Rule” electric vehicle proposals, four of the seven unelected Maine Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) regulators voted to have staff prepare for adoption of the rule change for action at a future meeting before the end of the year. Two were opposed, with one member absent. All seven BEP members were appointed by Governor Mills.

The California rule will eliminate consumer choice, mandate higher auto prices, and result in economic hardship for no appreciable impact on climate change. I am not against people choosing to buy an electric vehicle if they can afford it. But, public opinion should matter and the government should not require us to buy things we do not want or need.

Several legislators attempted to introduce bills for this coming session to require a legislative vote in the event the BEP adopts the rule in December.  All but one of the Democrats that control the Legislative Council rejected consideration of those bills.  Proposals of this magnitude should be decided by the people. At the very least, it should be voted on by elected representatives. The potential for economic and social harm is far too great to let four people impose the will on the rest of us.

It is an honor to represent part of Windham in the Legislature. If there is any way that I can be of assistance, please contact me at barbara.bagshaw@legislature.maine.gov .My office phone number is 207-287-1440. You can find me on Facebook at  https://www.facebook.com/BagshawForMaine. To receive regular updates, sign up for my e-newsletter at  https://mainehousegop.org/

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