Maine Board Rejects Zero-Emission Vehicle Rule

The Maine Board of Environmental Protection received nearly 3,000 public comments on the proposed rule.


The Maine Board of Environmental Protection's decision to vote down a rule aimed at significantly increasing the number of zero-emission vehicles in Maine has stirred a mix of responses.

The proposed Advanced Clean Cars II Act, which has been adopted by several other states, would have required 82% of new vehicles sold in Maine to be electric by 2032. It was rejected by the board in a 4-2 vote, reported the Maine Morning Star.

Despite the anticipation of a more eco-friendly shift in transportation, the board's decision was influenced by concerns over the state's preparedness and the broader implications of such a mandate.

“I literally wake up at 3 in the morning saying ‘what about this, what about that,’” said Robert Duchesne, a former legislator who serves on the board, according to the news outlet.

The rule's opposition, grounded in apprehensions about infrastructure readiness and the broader impacts on Maine's residents, ultimately prevailed.

The rule's rejection comes at a time when climate advocates are pushing for more aggressive actions to address transportation-related emissions, which are a significant contributor to Maine's greenhouse gas output. The debate over the Advanced Clean Cars II Act mirrors a larger conversation on how best to balance environmental objectives with practical and economic considerations, a dilemma that states across the nation are grappling with as they confront the realities of climate change and the transition to cleaner energy sources.

Supporters of the rule, including environmental groups and some state officials, argue that such measures are essential to combat climate change and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. They see the board's decision as a setback in Maine's environmental progress, potentially hindering the state's ability to meet its climate goals and expand electric vehicle options for consumers.

Critics, however, including some Republican legislators and industry stakeholders, contend the rule would impose undue burdens on the state's infrastructure and its residents, particularly those in the middle class.

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