AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The Maine Senate failed to muster enough support Wednesday to revive a bill that would have restored a program that provides rebates for residents and businesses who install solar panels.
Despite strong support in the Democratic-led House earlier this week, the effort to overturn Republican Gov. Paul LePage's veto fell two votes short of the two-thirds majority support it needed in the Senate, killing the bill as lawmakers make their way through the final days of the legislative session.
The measure drew sharp criticism from LePage and GOP lawmakers because it would have been paid for by raising Mainers' electric bills roughly 60 cents a year. But environmentalists, who often clash with the governor and lobbied heavily for the bill this session, said the veto of the bill "represents the failure of his irrational anti-clean-energy and anti-business agenda."
"Maine needs a governor who will lead the state into a cleaner, more prosperous energy future," Glen Brand, director of the Sierra Club Maine Chapter said in a statement.
Supporters of the measure, which would have provided $1 million for the program until 2016, said it was essential to build a strong solar industry in the state and that it would bring hundreds of new jobs to Maine.