Governor Paul LePage pushed over and over to weaken the state’s RES law by allowing existing hydro facilities (from Canada) to receive energy credits, which would effectively eliminate the incentive for clean energy in Maine.
The Beacon Hill Institute (BHI) published an anti-RES report for Maine, which was co-published by the Maine Heritage Policy Center in September 2012.
Subsequently, citing flawed data from the BHI and the Maine Heritage Policy Center, Governor LePage claimed the RES would have a negative impact on the state. In reality, the clean energy law resulted in more than $2 billion in local investment and created at least 2,500 jobs. ALEC’s Maine state private sector chair is Ann Robinson, who was the co-chair of the LePage gubernatorial transition team. ALEC corporate members part of the Private Enterprise Committee also contributed nearly $96,000 to LePage’s election campaign in 2010.
In February 2013, Senator Edward Youngblood and Senator Mike Thibodeau, a member of ALEC, introduced legislation to water down the state’s RES law with existing hydro power. If passed, SP 237 would have removed the 100-megawatt limit on renewable sources of energy. This change would have allowed large hydro facilities (specifically from Canada) to receive energy credits, and as a result, water down Maine’s clean energy law with big, existing hydroelectric power. The incentive for clean energy companies to continue investing in Maine would have been eliminated. Fortunately, SP 237 faced widespread opposition and was not passed as originally written.
According to a report from Maine People’s Alliance, “In 2011, [Senator Mike Thibodeau] received a $350 scholarship, funded by corporate contributions, to travel to an ALEC conference in Scottsdale, Arizona.” Sen. Thibodeau, one of the anti-RES bill’s co-sponsors, has received over $15,000 from ALEC-affiliated organizations and companies. He also has close ties with the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity (AFP). Since 2010, Americans for Prosperity (AFP) Maine director and former ALEC state co-chair Carol Weston has served as Sen. Thibodeau’s campaign treasurer. AFP also send out a legislative alert regarding the Maine RES.
Member companies of ALEC, including oil, tobacco, and pharmaceutical companies have contributed more than $750,000 to Maine candidates, parties, and political action committees since 2002.
LePage continued his lobbying effort against Maine’s RES in 2014, saying that he wanted to open the door to hydropower from Quebec. Renewable energy advocates pushed back yet again, saying that no other industry has come close to the $2.5 billion investment in infrastructure that’s been made by the clean energy industry in Maine.