Representative Jeff Hanley (R-Pittston) has filed paperwork to run for a fourth term. Hanley, who serves as the top House Republican on the Legislature’s Energy, Utilities and Technology committee, said that he has been pushing back against policies that would drive up the cost of energy or make it more costly for homeowners to stay warm during his six years in office.
“I am all for solar, wind and alternative energy sources as long as we are not passing their cost on to the people paying the bills,” said Hanley. “Maine has one of the highest energy costs in the nation, and we can’t afford to see it go even higher. It’s getting in the way of business growth, in rural areas especially, and we have to turn things around if we are going to build a sustainable economy here.”
Hanley said that he has serious concerns about putting windmills on Maine’s scenic mountaintops and along its coastline where lobstermen haul their traps.
“In my first term we pushed back against industrial wind power and gave the people of our remote rural communities a chance to say no,” he said. “Many of our small communities have been led to believe there are only going to be benefits of these wind turbines, and aren’t taking into account the concerns of sportsmen, residents along lakes, or those who believe in due process. Now you’re starting to see a push for off-shore wind in areas where our lobstermen work every day. I think we need to take a real hard look at where we are going with wind power before it’s too late. People come from all over the world to visit and look out over our coastline. We should consider how will this hurt us.”
Hanley also pointed to legislation last year that would have imposed a new tax on home heating oil and a push to raise the gas tax that he feels would have a devastating effect on Maine’s elderly and low income homeowners. It included a carbon tax that would add up to .40 cents a gallon on all fuels.
“Last year we had a bill that would’ve put a 1% tax on home heating oil,” he said. “And we’ve had several attempts to raise the gas tax both in the Legislature and through the back door. It’s not right. Not right to force our elderly to pay more to heat their homes, not right to make hard-working Mainers who travel to and from work every day pay more for their commute, not right to push all these taxes on to people in rural areas of the state where it gets harder and harder to make a living.”
Hanley said that efforts to raise fuel taxes have failed so far, but he is closely watching the Mills Administration’s involvement in the regional Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) which could result in higher gas taxes without legislative involvement.
“We killed the proposed home heating oil tax last year 133-13,” he said. “We have resisted efforts to hike the gas tax in transportation and other committees. But what is really alarming is that this administration may be going through the back door to raise gas taxes if they fully sign off on involvement in TCI. If that happens, Maine drivers could be paying an additional 13-23 cents a gallon just to get milk and bread. It’s going to hurt our economy and our state if we dive right in while other states are having second thoughts.”
Hanley has represented Alna, Pittston, Randolph and Wiscasset since joining the Legislature in 2014. For more information or to get involved with his campaign, contact him at 582-1524.