A ballot measure that calls for the creation of a public utility in Maine has received an endorsement from the Sierra Club.

Ben Jealous, executive director of the national environmental advocacy group, said in an announcement Tuesday that voters should seize the opportunity to pass Question 3 in the November referendum and create a more responsive utility.

“A win in Maine would allow for a quicker, more just expansion of the state’s electric grid, all while saving ratepayers billions of dollars and advancing the state’s commendable climate and economic justice goals,” said Jealous in the release.

The ballot measure calls for the creation of Pine Tree Power, which would replace investor-owned Central Maine Power and Versant, the regulated utilities that now distribute electricity throughout the state.

The two factions are engaged in battling campaigns. The existing utilities want to maintain control over the poles and wires and the profits that flow from them. Activists say a not-for-profit company managed by local people can bring about a transition that’s more equitable and less costly.

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