Maine continues to support natural gas-fired plants operating within the state when it is well understood that the price of natural gas drives electricity prices so high that many people find themselves unable to pay the bill.

The state’s decarbonization plans barely touch upon the fact that natural gas plants are the dominant in-state carbon emitters.

RGGI (Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative) tracks electric plant emissions: five in-state natural gas plants and one oil-fired plant make up the total list of Maine electric plant CO2 emitters. These plants are charged with a carbon tax that passes through to customer bills.

Augusta lawmakers should develop plans to revamp the state’s use of natural gas and oil plants’ output. Why do they kick the can down the road for these plants as they continue to apply a carbon tax to customer bills?

Why did the output from Maine natural gas plants suddenly erupt last year after 10 consecutive years of declining output? Higher natural gas prices, higher electric prices, higher profits.

Why did Calpine, owner of Maine’s largest natural gas plant, and NextEra, owner of the state’s largest oil plant, fight so hard against the NECEC project? Seems obvious now.

Maine lawmakers should stop trying to enlarge the state’s wind and solar presence. Believing these resources will out-compete and provide reliability that will force natural gas and oil plants from operating in Maine is wishful thinking.

A new legislative attitude toward working to help Maine people with a real energy plan is needed.

Dan McKay, Dixfield

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