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Maine Voters Reject “Pine Tree Power” Proposal

Last Tuesday, by a margin of 70% to 30%, Maine voters rejected Question 3, the highest profile issue on the Maine ballot this year. Question 3 was placed on the ballot earlier this year, and under the terms of a fifteen page bill behind the question, it proposed the formation of a quasi-governmental authority called “Pine Tree Power” – governed by an elected board -- that would have been required to take over the assets of Maine’s two largest investor-owned electric utilities, Central Maine Power and Versant Power.

After months of having the state’s airwaves and print media filled with advertisements, letters to the editor, and numerous guest columns on both sides of the issue, both sides immediately reacted to last Tuesday’s election results. On the “Yes on 3” side, the Pine Tree Power campaign released a statement, saying: “Tonight, the yes on question 3 campaign has faced a difficult loss at the ballot box” but that the campaign “started a critically important conversation that does not end today.” Meanwhile, the Maine Affordable Energy Coalition, one of two ballot question committees opposing Question 3, said in a statement that Maine voters “did their homework, they did their research," and “they rejected billions of dollars in debt, and they rejected the risk and uncertainty that came with it." Verrill partner Jim Cohen also spoke to the media on election night on behalf of the “No on 3” campaign, which interview can be found here. It remains to be seen where this issue goes from here given the margin of victory for the “no” campaign and the competing reactions from the two sides.

If you would like to see additional press coverage about the Question 3 results and the future of public power in Maine, you can find relevant articles in the Bangor Daily News and Portland Press Herald. Verrill also provided more detailed information about the Question 3 campaign and Jim Cohen’s work in support of the “No on 3” campaign in an earlier blog post.