I am writing in response to an article by Tux Turkel in the Aug. 13 Maine Sunday Telegram, titled “Solar bill met more powerful foe: Doubt.”

It is important to correct a few misperceptions that may have been drawn from a reading of the article. Mr. Turkel characterizes me as someone with “no interest in energy policy.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

While it is true that I have served exclusively on the HHS Committee for the past seven years, I have written extensively about our energy failures over the last 16 years, frequently citing the negative impact that “deregulation” had on our electric transmission and distribution rates. I have always noted that the cost of the electrical infrastructure when decoupled from the electrons would continue to rise, as T&D is controlled by (now foreign) monopolistic entities. I have frequently cited past legislative failures and their contribution to rising electrical costs: PURPA, REGGI, and renewable subsidies for solar, wind and hydro. Those legislative policy decisions are a hidden tax on ratepayers – and now the (U.S.) Supreme Court agrees with me. I said at the time and repeat now electricity should be regulated as a public good – and had we continued to do so some of our mills that are now closed would still be operational.

Because L.D. 1504 qualifies under that Supreme Court decision as a tax bill, it is unconstitutional under Maine law, as all tax bills must originate in the House of Representatives and this bill originated in the Senate.

I have not always agreed with Supreme Court decisions, nor with their rationale. Regardless of my feelings, their word is the law until changed by Congress. I do not believe it was doubt that changed anyone’s vote on L.D. 1504. It was the Supreme Court and the Maine Constitution.

Rep. Richard Malaby

House District 136