The planned rollout in Maine of proposed regulations to substantially reduce gas-powered vehicle sales has been postponed by one year due to a recent storm causing delays.
The storm resulted in widespread power outages across the state, leading to the postponement of a key December 21st vote by the Board of Environmental Protection on the proposed rules.
With the Board unable to reconvene before the end of 2023, the regulations must now be amended to target the 2028 vehicle model year instead of 2027. The delay also means the proposal must be reopened for further public input.
Originally, the proposed rules aimed to require that 82% of new vehicles sold in Maine by the 2032 model year be zero-emissions. Maine is one of a dozen states which have signed on to emulate California's standards, targeting increased electric vehicle sales and reduced traditional vehicle sales.
The goal is to meet ambitious climate targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
However, the storm disruption has handed critics of these environmental regulations an opportunity to voice renewed opposition. Additional public comments will now be accepted through February 5th.
House Republican Leader Billy Bob Faulkingham strongly opposes the proposed vehicle emissions rules. He argues that the widespread winter storm power outages would have made charging electric cars extremely difficult across much of the state.
In his view, this underscores the need to reconsider and potentially amend the proposal to account for such challenges. If proponents insist on using California's regulations as a model, he provocatively suggests the next step will be outlawing chainsaws and generators.