Gov. Janet Mills vetoed a bill on Friday that would have required companies leasing state land for clean energy projects to work with unions hoping to represent their workers.

The bill, L.D. 373, is aimed at the offshore wind power terminal and manufacturing facility the Mills administration aims to build in Searsport. Mills said she vetoed the bill because it contained ambiguous language and was too far-reaching in its scope.

In her veto letter, she wrote that it was unclear whether the bill, An Act to Ensure Employer and Employee Harmony in Clean Energy Development Projects, applied only to construction work or extended to all types of clean energy projects. She said it could have far-reaching consequences for the state’s efforts to reduce its carbon emissions.

“The language of the bill – while appearing to be targeted specifically towards an offshore wind port – could apply to the operation of any clean energy project, including biomass, hydroelectric, solar, wind and geothermal, that touches state land, which is far more expansive than the apparent intent of the bill,” Mills wrote.

The measure passed the Senate in a 21-12 vote but made it out of the House by just one vote.

The bill had support from labor organizations around the state. In a statement Friday afternoon, Andy O’Brien, communications director for Maine AFL-CIO, wrote that the bill had been “an attempt to ensure that new clean energy jobs, outside of construction, are good-quality, union jobs.”


“Working people deserve a free and fair chance to form a union,” Matt Schlobohm, executive director of the Maine AFL-CIO, said in the statement. “This is another anti-worker, anti-union veto from Gov. Mills.”

Mills has now vetoed seven bills from the legislative session that ended last week. O’Brien said that four of those vetoes have involved labor priorities.

The bill was opposed by groups like the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, Maine Renewable Energy Association and Associated General Contractors.

In a letter addressed to Mills ahead of the vote, Hope Pollard, president of Associated Builders and Contractors of Maine urged the governor to veto the bill. Pollard wrote that the bill is unnecessary as the vast majority of employers already operate in accordance with employment law. She also said she believes that many contractors may not bid for projects if required to enter into a union contract. She called the bill “unnecessary and punitive.”

Leaders at the Maine Renewable Energy Association also spoke out about the legislation ahead of the vote. In an April 17 letter to Mills they wrote that they were concerned legislation like this would dissuade clean energy developers from working with the state.

“Maine’s clean energy transition requires all hands on deck and all landowners at the table,” the letter said.


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