BEHIND THE NUMBERS:
Ignored evidence of looming PFAS “forever chemical” pollution crisis
Blocked clean energy initiatives, investment, and innovation
Opposition to clean energy initiatives cost Maine thousands of high-quality jobs
Appointed oil industry lobbyist to lead Dept. of Environmental Protection
Tried to expand offshore oil drilling in Maine waters
Formed PFAS Task Force and targeted $90M to address “forever chemical” pollution
Launched Maine’s Climate Action Plan with aggressive climate and energy goals
On track to reach 80% renewable electricity by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2045
Policies resulted in 300% solar capacity surge in just 2 years
Greenhouse gas emissions reduced to 25% below 1990 levels
Under Mills, Maine is quickly catching up in solar energy generation
Failing to respond to toxic chemicals and pollution
One of LePage’s first acts on environmental issues was to appoint a former oil and chemical company lobbyist to lead the Department of Environmental Protection. Commissioner Aho went on to gut the agency’s ability to keep Maine people safe from polluters. The administration worked directly with corporate lobbyists to blunt enforcement of the Kid Safe Products Act while LePage mocked the impact of harmful chemicals like bisphenol A (BPA) on infants. While openly advocating for rolling back environmental regulations designed to hold polluters in check, LePage did nothing to address the serious threat of PFAS “forever chemical” contamination in Maine soil and milk, even downplaying the issue in the face of evidence that the problem was widespread and dangerous. It’s hard to quantify the price of this inaction, but under Mills the state has already dedicated $90 million in state and federal resources to begin undoing the damage.
Opposition to renewable energy held Maine back
LePage questioned the science of climate change and worked hand in hand with oil company lobbyists to push for more offshore oil drilling, including in Maine waters. This undermined efforts to secure renewable energy investments and create jobs in Maine. LePage used political maneuvering to retroactively stop a signed deal for offshore wind that would have led to early investment in the sector in Maine. This was a hard blow to Maine’s renewable energy industry, preventing as much as $2.5 billion in investment. LePage also vetoed solar policies that would have allowed local solar installers to flourish and Mainers to become more energy independent.
Investing in clean, affordable, Maine-made energy
Janet Mills has prioritized strengthening environmental laws and facing the crises posed by pollution and climate change head on. After years of delay by LePage, the Mills administration formed a PFAS Task Force to get all of the information on toxic “forever chemicals” into the light and plan a path forward, including testing over 700 farms considered high risk sites, and allocating $30 million in federal funds and $60 million in state funds to assess the scale of the problem and begin remediation. Mills has also made addressing the causes and effects of climate change a priority for her administration. She started off with the release of Maine’s Climate Action Plan, which sets the goals of carbon neutrality by 2045 and the creation of 30,000 clean energy jobs by 2030 along with other metrics that can be tracked in the public progress reports. Due to this focus, as well as action by the legislature, Maine has seen a dramatic increase in the solar economy, with a 300 percent surge in capacity in the first two years of Mills’ administration. Maine is on track to reach its goal of using 80 percent renewable resources for electricity by 2030, boasted 14,000 clean energy jobs in 2019, and exceeded its 2020 greenhouse gas emission reduction goal, lowering emissions below 1990 levels by 25 percent.