Maine solar advocates plan “last stand” Friday at the State House

Maine solar advocates plan “last stand” Friday at the State House

Supporters of comprehensive solar legislation vetoed by Governor Paul LePage on Wednesday are planning a State House rally on Friday that they’ve dubbed “the people’s Last Stand for Solar.”

“On Friday, April 29, the Legislature will convene to vote on whether to override the governor’s veto. This is the final vote: Maine’s solar future and hundreds of jobs are on the line. Please come to Augusta and show your support,” reads the description on the Facebook event page for the rally hosted by Solar for ME.

The bill, LD 1649, would create a comprehensive solar policy for Maine, the only New England state without one. It is projected to create 650 new jobs by growing new solar markets, protect 300 existing jobs in the field, increase solar installations tenfold and create between $58 million and $110 million in ratepayer savings. Maine is currently in last place in the region in both solar development and job creation.

The legislation passed unanimously in the Senate two weeks ago, but a bloc of House Republicans prevented it from gaining the two-thirds support necessary for a veto override in that chamber.

There are signs that the legislation is gaining support and that a veto override attempt could be successful tomorrow.

“A growing number of my colleagues see that this will help us catch up to our neighbors and take advantage of the opportunities this technology offers. It’s our chance to create good-paying jobs so young Mainers can pursue their careers and raise their families here in our state,” said Sen. David Woodsome, a Republican and co-chair of the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee.

Rally participants are meeting  at 10:30 a.m. at the offices of the Natural Resources Council of Maine to don yellow t-shirts before heading to the State House.

“We are all keeping our eyes on the prize. That prize is the truly good legislation that came out of an incredibly collaborative effort,” said Democratic Assistant House Majority Leader Sara Gideon. “We can grow the jobs of the future, modernize our economy and mitigate climate change – all while reducing energy costs for all ratepayers.”

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