April 11, 2018 | last updated April 12, 2018 1:23 pm

LePage veto of solar bill sustained — again

Once again, Maine lawmakers failed to override Gov. Paul LePage's veto of a bill designed to encourage homeowners to power their homes with solar energy.

The latest bill, LD 1444, "An Act Regarding Large-scale Community Solar Procurement," was carried over from the last session of the Legislature. It sought to block "gross metering," which refers to a fee electric utility companies would charge on people who generate a certain amount of electricity themselves. It also would have lifted the cap on community solar projects from of 10 participants to 50.

LePage vetoed the bill in March 2018. The Senate last week voted 24-9 to override the veto.

But on Tuesday, the House of Representatives killed the bill with a vote of 96-50, which reaffirmed last week's similar veto override vote and was less than the two-thirds majority needed to override LePage's veto, the Bangor Daily News reported.

Dylan Voorhees, clean energy director for Natural Resources Council of Maine, issued a statement Tuesday criticizing a handful of Republicans who had approved the bipartisan bill when it came to a vote earlier but flipped their votes, or were absent, when it came time to vote on overriding LePage's veto.

"Sadly, today, by just two votes, the Maine House of Representatives again failed to overturn the governor's veto of this year's solar bill," he said. "Today, LePage's extreme legislative allies again resorted to desperate tactics to thwart the will of the people and this bipartisan bill. They pushed representatives to stay home, leave the chamber, and trade their solar votes for unrelated favors. This kind of corrupt politics will bring higher electric costs to all Mainers and place outrageous new fees on Mainers who choose to generate and use their own power."


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