Law & Order

Maine Governor Signs Bill Requiring Legislative Approval for Clean Car Laws

internal combustion engine

By the SEMA Washington, D.C., office

Maine Governor Janet Mills signed SEMA-supported legislation (L.D. 2261) that would reclassify the state's adoption of California's clean-car rules as a "major substantive rule," requiring the legislature to provide final approval of the regulation, not the Board of Environmental Protection (BEP).

Under current law, citizens--including environmental groups--can initiate the regulatory process for minor updates upon submission of a petition with 150 voters' signatures. 

In March, Maine's BEP voted against adopting a SEMA-opposed proposal requiring that 82% of new vehicles sold in the state be zero-emissions vehicles (ZEV) by 2032. Drafted in response to a citizen petition from an environmental group, the rule aimed to tighten emissions standards for new passenger cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty vehicles sold in Maine, aligning the state with California's latest clean-car rules, which the state has historically followed.

SEMA believes that Mainers, not the government, should decide what vehicles are best for them and their families. In the case of Maine, it rebukes the push of 150 citizens who attempted to determine policy for the rest of the state. The automotive industry is embracing new technology to make cars cleaner and more efficient, including hydrogen, new synthetic fuels, alternative fuels and improvements to the internal combustion engine. The government should allow the market to continue to innovate all forms of technology that significantly reduce vehicle emissions.

For more information, contact Kiley Chapley at