PORTLAND — A renewable energy ballot initiative that supporters say can gradually lower electric rates while reducing Maine’s dependence on imported fuel is actually “the single, largest job killer” Maine has faced in years and will make rates rise, Gov. Paul LePage told a gathering of the state’s real estate industry today.
If the measure gets on the ballot this November and wins voter approval, he said, it will force people and businesses to leave for places with lower energy costs.
“This will destroy the state of Maine,” he said, appealing to the crowd to fight the initiative.
LePage made his remarks at the opening address of the 2010 Maine Real Estate & Development Association’s annual forecast conference. The event drew a record turnout of 650 business and industry professionals, who gave the governor a standing ovation when he was introduced.
LePage’s comments escalated his ongoing attack on a proposal by a coalition called Maine Citizens for Clean Energy. The group, which includes environmental activists and windpower developers, is collecting signatures for a ballot initiative aimed at requiring 20 percent of Maine’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020, and to require further investments in energy efficiency.