LEWISTON – The leading candidates running against Republican Gov. Paul LePage said he is off course with his stance toward renewables.

“Renewable energy is a strategic asset that Maine should look to expand, not undermine,” said Democratic challenger U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud. “Gov. LePage’s efforts on energy move us backward and threaten a growing industry in our state while also hurting our efforts to combat climate change.”

Michaud said “smart policy” would help businesses reduce energy costs without jeopardizing renewable-energy development and the state’s economy.

“The benefits of renewable energy are undeniable,” Michaud said. “Right now, there are thousands of renewable-energy jobs just waiting to be created, and as governor I’ll make sure that they are. We should support renewable-energy resources like wind, solar, biomass and tidal. They’re good for the environment, good for our economy and good for ratepayers.”

And, Michaud said, “Our homegrown renewable-energy sector creates jobs, reduces the impact of global warming, protects us from price spikes and keep prices down so small businesses and Maine families can keep more money in their pockets.”

Independent candidate Eliot Cutler said LePage’s stance on renewable policies was an example of how misguided the governor is on an issue critical to Maine’s economy.

“It’s just one more demonstration that Gov. LePage doesn’t have a plan for Maine’s economy and, in this case, he doesn’t have a plan about how to expand Maine energy production,” Cutler said.

He laid out five key points for a state energy policy he believes would move the state forward in a productive way.

– Eliminate the natural-gas bottleneck in southern New England.

– Increase the state’s electricity-transmission capacity to southern New England, both for Maine-produced energy and for Canadian power.

– Increase renewable-production capacity in Maine from all sectors, including wind, solar and tidal.

– Work collaboratively with other states and Canada to reduce carbon emissions in Maine and southern New England.

– Build more distributive-power generation — onsite electricity generation for industry — as a means to reduce the cost of industrial energy rates by eliminating distribution costs.

Cutler said there was “a lot of know-nothingness embedded in LePage’s view on energy.”

“First and foremost on our agenda ought to be gaining more investment in Maine, creating more jobs in Maine and bolstering Maine’s economy,” Cutler said. “And the way to do that is to focus on a whole lot more than this red herring of the 100-megawatt cap.” 

Brent Littlefield, a spokesman for LePage’s re-election campaign, rebuffed the criticism.

“Gov. LePage believes people should come before politics,” Littlefield said. “He is not a Washington-trained politician. He is a businessman who has created jobs.”

Littlefield said while others focus on policies to appeal to “liberal special interests, Gov. LePage’s focus is on lowering electricity bills for senior citizens, families and small businesses.”

LePage knows job creators will move businesses to states where costs are low, Littlefield said.

“Maine has not been competitive when compared to all 50 states,” Littlefield said. “Gov. LePage will not cave to the special interests who want Maine to be uncompetitive.”

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“Gov. LePage’s focus is on lowering electricity bills for senior citizens, families and small businesses,”Brent Littlefield, a spokesman for LePage’s reelection campaign said. “Maine has not been competitive when compared to all 50 states. Gov. LePage will not cave to the special interests who want Maine to be uncompetitive.”

“The benefits of renewable energy are undeniable,” Michaud said. “Right now, there are thousands of renewable-energy jobs just waiting to be created, and as governor I’ll make sure that they are. We should support renewable-energy resources like wind, solar, biomass and tidal. They’re good for the environment, good for our economy and good for ratepayers.”

“First and foremost on our agenda ought to be gaining more investment in Maine, creating more jobs in Maine and bolstering Maine’s economy,” Cutler said. “And the way to do that is to focus on a whole lot more than this red herring of the 100-megawatt cap.” 


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