Solar energy is taking off across the country but Maine is missing out. The solar industry is the fastest growing industry in the country but Maine has the least amount of installed solar panels and the fewest solar jobs per capita in New England. One reason for that is Maine does not have a state solar policy in place to encourage the market. Legislators in Augusta had the chance to help Maine’s solar industry but they failed to pass L.D. 1649 over Gov. Paul LePage’s veto. L.D. 1649 would have created 650 new jobs in Maine’s solar energy industry, increased the amount of electricity Maine gets from solar panels, and reduced electricity rates over time. Despite all of this, LePage vetoed the bill, setting up the veto override attempt.

I spoke to my state Rep. Tim Theriault, R-China, a few days before the vote and he told me he was going to vote in support of the bill to override the veto. That is not what happened in Augusta. When it came time to vote, Theriault walked out of the House chamber and hid in the House minority office while the vote took place. He didn’t even cast a vote.

Taking a walk on this vote was irresponsible and it disenfranchised his constituents in China, Benton and Albion. Theriault managed to vote on 30 other veto override attempts that day. Why not on L.D. 1649? I demand an explanation. Our legislators have a duty to serve the people of Maine. Instead, Theriault decided to do nothing at all when Maine’s solar industry was on the line.

Nan and Bob Bennett

South China

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