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NV conservation group supports FERC's transmission planning rule; Memorial Day weekend includes Tornadoes and record-high temperatures; A focus on the Farm Bill for Latino Advocacy Week in D.C; and Southeast Alaska is heating homes with its rainfall.

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U.S. Supreme Court allows South Carolina gerrymander that dilutes Black voters, Sen. Ted Cruz refuses to say if he'll accept 2024 election results, and Trump calls Mar-a-Lago search an attempt to have him assassinated.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Maine voters consider costs, climate in public utility amendment

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Monday, November 6, 2023   

An amendment on Tuesday's ballot in Maine to transfer ownership of the state's two private utilities to the public is considered a dead heat.

Question Three asks whether the assets of Central Maine Power and Versant Power should be transferred to a new nonprofit consumer-owned utility called the Pine Tree Company.

Pine Tree Power Campaign Manager Al Cleveland said utilities owned by foreign governments and corporations fail to adequately serve local committees and have slowed the transition to clean energy.

"Having a public power company to serve Maine," said Cleveland, "will give us the ability to have greater participation in our democracy and in our communities."

Opponents say the transfer of ownership would be too expensive. That includes Gov. Janet Mills, who calls the amendment a "hostile takeover" which could take decades to litigate in court.

A nationwide poll shows a majority of voters approve of public utility control as a way to quicken the transition to clean energy and help communities implement policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

If approved, voters would next elect their new utility's board of directors, who would hire private businesses to run operations and grid maintenance, even customer service.

Cleveland said local control would ensure greater savings and benefits for ratepayers versus profits for shareholders.

People want to be able to pay their bill every month," said Cleveland, "know that their lights will be kept on, and know where their money is going.

Still, opponents say the idea is too risky.

Maine already has ten consumer-owned utilities serving nearly 100 towns, but it would be the first in the nation to attempt a public takeover of existing private utilities.





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