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Dem Governor Throws A Wrench Into Biden’s Green Energy Plans

  Democratic Maine Gov. Janet Mills vetoed a bill Monday that would have bolstered Maine’s offshore wind industry, a move which stands at od...

 Democratic Maine Gov. Janet Mills vetoed a bill Monday that would have bolstered Maine’s offshore wind industry, a move which stands at odds with President Joe Biden’s larger green energy agenda, according to The Washington Post.

Mills vetoed L.D. 1847 on the grounds that its union-friendly labor standards could have ultimately excluded 90% of the state’s construction workers, who are not members of unions, according to the Post. Her choice to veto the bill cuts against the Biden administration’s wider green energy agenda, which features offshore wind energy and associated union jobs as a key strategy in its larger vision to phase out fossil fuels.

“We would expect this type of resistance from a Republican governor. But to have a Democratic governor impeding the president’s agenda is something that we just didn’t expect,” said Francis Eanes, executive director of the Maine Labor Climate Council labor union coalition, according to the Post.  

The Biden administration has emphasized its aim to have offshore wind produce enough energy to power ten million American homes by 2030, according to a White House press release. The administration’s wider green energy agenda also prioritizes creating millions of union jobs while maintaining an economy that retains its overall competitiveness, according to a separate White House press release.

Ironically, Mills’ office initially proposed the bill to establish various environmental requirements for ports involved in the manufacturing, building and operation of the offshore wind developments, according to the Post. Other state Democrats subsequently amended the bill to incorporate language requiring that involved corporations abide by certain union-friendly labor standards which could have disadvantaged Maine’s construction workers, more than 90% of whom are not members of unions, according to the Post.

Mills wrote that the union-friendly labor requirements could create a “chilling effect” for Maine’s construction companies and workers, adding that the amended language “could stifle competition, which could cut out thousands of workers and employee-owned businesses, and could end up favoring out-of-state unions in the region” in a letter to state legislators explaining her decision. She further cited her desire to have offshore wind development provide “opportunities for Maine’s workforce and construction companies to compete on a level playing field” with unionized workers.

Mills is still an advocate for offshore wind development in the Gulf of Maine despite her veto, and she has previously touted the Gulf of Maine’s high wind speeds as compatible with the technology, according to the Post. Critics of the technology have cited the relative inefficiency of offshore wind turbines and their potential environmental impacts as reasons against the technology’s widespread adoption.

Mills signed into law requirements for the state to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030 in 2019, according to the Post. The Biden administration aims to have the American economy reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, according to a White House press release.

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