2020 Session in Review

Dear Friend of Maine’s Environment,

What a year - and it’s not over yet. 2020 has challenged us as we navigate unprecedented times as individuals, as members of our communities, as a nation, and as a world.

This year has upended all things we thought to be certain and has revealed many weaknesses in the underpinnings of our society. From gaps in our governmental support programs to long standing social inequities to deep seeded racial biases, this year has required us all to dig deep and focus on what matters most.

This is also a year of incredible opportunity. With local and federal elections on the horizon, upholding our democracy and ensuring all eligible Mainers are able to safely vote in November is of paramount importance.

Political accountability is a cornerstone of the work we do here at Maine Conservation Voters. Each year, we look forward to bringing you our Environmental Scorecard to showcase how your lawmakers measure up.

We are proud to share Maine Conservation Voters’ Environmental Scorecard for the 129th legislative session with you.

This year’s scorecard was a little tricky because the 2020 session, unfortunately, was cut short due to the pandemic. The scorecard relies on votes from 2019, which was an historic year for making progress on climate action and environmental protection.

We now have in law initiatives that invest in solar power, increase renewable energy to 100% by 2050, and reduce carbon pollution by 80% by 2050. A new Governor’s Climate Council was formed to write a plan for achieving these ambitious targets. The legislature strengthened water quality standards and fishing rights, especially for Tribes in Maine. And Maine finally banned single use plastic bags, polystyrene containers, and coal tar.

These accomplishments would not have happened without the leadership of Governor Janet Mills, Senate President Troy Jackson, and House Speaker Sara Gideon and many conservation champions in the legislature.

And it was your commitment to holding your legislators accountable — lobbying and meeting with lawmakers, sending emails and making phone-calls — that helped push lawmakers to take positive action for our environment and climate future.

While the pandemic has shifted all of our priorities, it has not undone the significant progress we made in the 129th session. Thank you for your partnership to score these incredible victories, as well as your support during these difficult times.

With hope and gratitude,

Maureen Drouin & Adam Lee

Scored Legislation

Status: Enacted

Climate change threatens our health, our environment, and our economy. Transitioning to a clean energy economy will reduce carbon pollution, mitigate the impacts of climate change, create well-paying jobs, and help make Maine energy independent. Modernizing Maine’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) is key to this transition. Under prior law, the Continue...

Status: Enacted

Using solar energy makes our air cleaner, stabilizes our climate, fosters energy independence, and strengthens our economy. After years of failed attempts to enact solar policy, Maine finally passed legislation to boost solar energy utilization for Maine schools, municipalities, and residents. LD 1711 calls for at least 375 megawatts of Continue...

Status: Enacted

Governor Mills introduced bold legislation to address the threat climate change poses to Maine’s economy, environment, and to the health of Mainers. LD 1679 establishes the Maine Climate Council, charged with reducing Maine’s greenhouse gas emissions by 45% below 1990 levels by 2030 and at least 80% by 2050. The Continue...

Status: Enacted

Single-use plastic shopping bags litter our lands and pollute our waters, clog storm drains, and damage recycling equipment. Scientists warn that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish and these plastic bags threaten the health of marine mammals, fish, and birds. Globally, stores distribute about Continue...

Status: Enacted

With the passage of LD 289, Maine became the first state in the country to ban single-use food and drink containers made from polystyrene foam (commonly known by the trade name Styrofoam). These containers are a major source of plastic pollution. Because they are lightweight and non-recyclable, Styrofoam containers are Continue...

Status: Enacted

LD 1775 creates a new designation of “sustenance fishing” under Maine’s water quality classification system. With this designation, the state will upgrade water quality criteria in waterbodies delineated in statute as providing important sources of fish for Maine’s tribes. The new legal designation will enable safe consumption of up to Continue...

Status: Defeated

Governor Mills introduced a $20 million bond bill to fund the popular Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) program, which is out of money. LMF protects high value recreational and conservation lands, and preserves valuable farmlands and working waterfronts. Since 1987, the program has protected more than 1,200 miles of shoreline Continue...