PORTLAND – On Friday, Sara Gideon, rolled out her climate change agenda in a tour of several locations in southern Maine. Hewing largely to standard Democrat talking points, Gideon promised a standard laundry list of policy goals, the type that usually make great campaign talking points but are seldom enacted by new lawmakers in Washington.
Among Gideon’s policy talking points were “overhauling our transportation system” – a policy that sounds like the end game in programs such as the Transportation Climate Initiative, a carbon tax based regional scheme Governor Janet Mills has been considering since last year. Gideon also said she would move to immediately rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, which has been criticized as ineffective, expensive for the United States and producing few tangible results.
Gideon also promised a move to a “completely clean energy system powered by renewables” which to many Mainers might suggest Gideon would support Green New Deal style legislation. Gideon has so far not spoken out against the massive Green New Deal, which carries a $93 trillion price tag and sought, according to documents from Rep. Alexanda Ocasio-Cortez, to eliminate cars, air travel and many other staples of American life. At one point, Ocasio-Cortez’s staff even posted a draft saying the Green New Deal would provide economic security for Americans “unwilling to work.”
But while Gideon was touring the state touting her “climate change” agenda, her record in Augusta re-emerged as a campaign issue.
In early 2019 as Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives co-sponsored and attended a press conference for the roll-out of a proposal that would have added a carbon tax to heating oil and gasoline in Maine. At the time, Gideon said the 40 cent per gallon tax was “one of the most important things we have to do.”
Gideon’s opponents were quick to remind Mainers what they said was Gideon’s real climate change plan.
“Gideon’s climate change agenda includes a gas tax. Gideon supports a plan to hike taxes on gas, home heating oil, and other fuel products in Maine by roughly 40 cents a gallon,” said a press release from a spokesman of Senator Susan Collins.
“Gideon’s devastating gas and heating oil tax would especially affect working families and seniors – the people who can least afford Gideon’s new tax.
The money taken from Mainers by Gideon’s new tax would not have been used to fix and improve Maine’s crumbling infrastructure. Instead, it would have gone to a brand new fund administered by the Maine Public Utilities Commission and distributed to Central Maine Power and other utilities.”
For her part, Sara Gideon was not directly promoting the expensive carbon tax she once promoted, instead focusing on endorsements she has from environmental special interests. One such group, the Natural Resources Defense Council, has been pushing for regulations that lobstermen and women say would shut down their industry. Interestingly, while touting the NRDC endorsement, Gideon’s climate change agenda page calls the NRDC the “National Resources Defense Council” instead of “Natural Resources Defense Council.”
But while Gideon may tout such endorsements, Senator Susan Collins’ team pointed out that Gideon has also been taking money from fossil fuel billionaires such as Michael Zilka, who hosted a fundraiser for Gideon at his Houston mansion. Other billionaires, such as S. Donald Sussman and Tom Steyer, who made fortunes in fossil fuels, are also donating to and funding Gideon’s efforts.