AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Governor LePage says the Legislature hasn’t done enough to help Maine people reduce their heating costs, so he is submitting a last minute bill to do it.
The Governor and his energy director, Patrick Woodcock, announced today he is submitting a plan to add a million dollars to the Efficiency Maine program that helps pay for new, efficient home heating systems.
The Governor criticized the Legislature for passing a rebate program for solar energy, but not doing anything for home heating costs.
The Governor’s plan would get the million dollars by increasing the amount of tree harvesting on 400,000 acres of the state’s public lands. The Natural Resources Council of Maine says it supports more money for energy improvements, but not at the expense of the trees.
The Governor blamed NRCM for helping kill a previous bill in the Legislature this winter that would have also used money from timber sales to increase Efficiency Maine funding.
The Governor suggested to reporters that he had sponsored the bill, and that it was killed by Democrats at the urging of the NRCM.
However, energy director Woodcock says the Governor did not actually submit an earlier bill. Instead, he says the Governor’s office was supporting a similar bill from Sen. Troy Jackson.
Democratic leaders, meanwhile, say that Jackson’s bill has not been “killed”, that it is still alive in the legislature and is awaiting work on an amendment.
The Governor and Woodcock say the Governor is submitting the new bill as an emergency measure, because more needs to be done to help people reduce their heating costs.
There are only a few weeks left in the current Legislative session, and it appears the Governor’s bill may now need to compete with the existing Jackson bill to fund the program.