Vulnerable House Dem bucks party orthodoxy, blasting his state's proposed EV mandate

Democratic Maine Rep. Jared Golden, who is running for reelection in a swing district, is taking a strong stance against a proposed electric vehicle (EV) mandate in his state.

Golden’s office confirmed to Fox News Digital that he remains opposed to Maine’s EV mandate, which was proposed by the state’s Board of Environmental Protection earlier this year and is slated for formal adoption on Wednesday. Maine’s so-called Advanced Clear Car Program would mimic regulations approved in California mandating that at least 51% of new car purchases in the state be electric by 2028 and 82% be electric by 2032.

“Congressman Golden submitted testimony in February in opposition to the Maine BEP’s proposal to adopt California clean car standards in Maine. Additionally, he submitted testimony to Maine BEP opposing California truck standards,” a spokesperson for Golden told Fox News Digital in an email.

“Congressman Golden has consistently opposed mandates for electric vehicles at the state and national level, and will continue to advocate on behalf of his constituents,” the spokesperson added.

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Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, has strongly opposed electric vehicle mandates over their impact on his rural blue-collar constituents. (AP Photo/David Sharp, File)

While the Maine Board of Environmental Protection was originally slated to vote on adopting the Advanced Clear Car Program in late December, a major windstorm caused widespread power outages statewide, forcing state offices to be closed and the agency’s vote to be indefinitely delayed.

After the vote was delayed, Golden remarked that under the EV mandate, such a storm knocking out power would ironically have rendered most new cars “useless.” He also noted that the state’s power grid is unable to sustain such a massive demand increase caused by a rapid uptick in EV ownership and that charging stations are “few and far between.”

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The Board of Environmental Protection ultimately proposed a slightly-modified version of the Advanced Clear Car Program, pushing the start date from 2027 to 2028, and accepted a new round of comments from the public and stakeholders. Golden then filed testimony on Feb. 1, again opposing the EV mandate rules.

“Mainers proudly work to protect the environment of our state,” he wrote to the agency. “I, too, support steps to address the threats of climate change and the goal of keeping our pristine vistas along our coast, mountains, and farmlands intact. Zero Emission Vehicles will eventually — and undoubtedly — play a role in those efforts. Forcing manufacturers — via dealerships in Maine — to offer ZEV automobiles is, in my opinion, contrary to those goals.”

“Protecting our environment is of the utmost concern. Investments in new technologies and rewards via tax incentives would be a better course of action when compared to the proposed adoption of California’s Advanced Clean Car regulation,” Golden wrote last month. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

“For those of us who make our homes here, safe, dependable, and — most importantly — affordable transportation is not a luxury but a cold hard necessity,” the Democrat continued. “Any efforts to broaden the use of new energy technologies, particularly in the case of transportation for the average citizen, must take these considerations into account ahead of any government actions.”

The state received dozens of other letters of opposition, including one from the Maine Automobile Dealers Association, which said the proposal is “unreasonable, unachievable and would severely restrict the ability of Maine citizens to purchase a vehicle which meets their needs and wants.” The group noted the Advanced Clear Car Program would ultimately mandate an 800% increase in EV purchases in less than three years.

Meanwhile, Golden has also taken a stance against broader EV efforts, voting in favor of a bill to prohibit the federal government from allowing state mandates limiting gas car sales in September and, in December, in favor of a bill striking down the Biden administration’s aggressive tailpipe emissions standards aimed at pushing EV sales.

The Maine Board of Environmental Protection did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Thomas Catenacci is a politics writer for Fox News Digital.

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