Hello. I am David Woodsome, state
senator from District 33.
am a Republican who sponsored the bill that created Governor Mills’ Maine
Climate Group, and there was a particular reason why I did so.
submitted this legislation after a long conversation with Governor Mills about
bipartisanship and working together on important issues, so long as we seek
responsible, commonsense solutions to problems. A large part of my intention
was to be involved in the process so I would be aware of and help shape the
ideas and proposals being tossed around. Governor Mills and I agreed that we
could disagree and still work together.
I was concerned that many of the ideas generated by the Climate Council might
lead to an unfair new burden on people in Maine’s poorest, rural communities.
the same time, I feel it is very important that, in a free society, government
educate people toward new behaviors, rather than force them via new laws and
me place the climate problem in its proper context regarding our state. Maine’s
contribution to global emissions of CO2 amount to .0004 of the World’s total.
That’s four ten-thousandths of the whole. By comparison, the State of Texas
emits that much CO2 in about a week. China does so nearly every day.
Maine were to completely eliminate its entire carbon footprint, it would likely
have no measurable impact whatsoever on the climate, including global
temperatures, sea-levels, and or ocean acidification. In fact, it is possible
that, because of the carbon scrubbing nature of our forests, Maine is already
should not prevent Maine from taking heed of its motto “Dirigo” or “I lead” by
setting a tone and providing an example for the rest of the nation on energy
policy. It should.
do so properly and fairly, however, requires a balance and must convey a strong
sense of legitimacy, commonsense, and fiscal responsibility. Setting a poor
example will only harm Mainers, alienate potential supporters, and do nothing
to alleviate the effects of global climate change.
an example means taking action that one hopes others will imitate, thus
encouraging some improved behavior. Setting a bad example, however, does more
harm than good to one’s goals.
newly installed solar panel at the Blaine House in Augusta is a poor example.
to the Portland Press
Herald, “The $63,000 solar-electric installation wound up being
so uneconomical as a business venture that only one vendor bid on the
high-visibility but money-losing job, picking prestige over profit.”
and leadership are important when working toward societal change. Justifying
the poor business nature of the investment, however, Governor Mills’ press
secretary said that “the panels will annually offset the equivalent of burning
43 barrels, or 1,806 gallons of oil, with clean, renewable energy.”
problem here the Blaine House is heated by twenty-two heat pumps that were
installed a few years ago, so that the building uses zero gallons of oil. One
cannot offset what they do not use in the first place. Also, Maine’s electrical
grid is driven by natural gas, not oil.
what this solar panel has done is embolden critics of solar power by sending
the message that it can be a wasteful effort with little positive return.
this project based on non-existent oil consumption erodes confidence by
suggesting that state government is not doing the in-depth research it should
do before making these decisions. This type of outcome does great harm to
efforts in Maine to improve our response to climate change.
the Climate Council moves forward with its research and information gathering,
I sincerely hope that its recommendations will be guided by a more common
sense, fiscally responsibility approach that sets a positive example on climate
Again, I am State Senator David Woodsome of District 33. Take care and be well!