Maine governor vetoes bill limiting ethanol blending

By Erin Voegele | May 06, 2019

Maine Gov. Janet Mills vetoed legislation on May 2 that aimed to prohibit the sale of fuel blends containing more than 10 percent ethanol within the state.

The bill, LD 822, was introduced in February. It passed the state House on April 16 and the Senate on April 23.

The bill aimed to prohibit the sale of motor fuel products within the state that contain more than 10 percent ethanol, unless the sale of such fuel was in a sealed container that contains one quart or less of the motor fuel.

The bill also aimed to repeal a contingent prohibition on the sale of motor fuel containing more than 10 percent ethanol by volume. That prohibition was signed into law in 2013 and aims to prohibit the sale of gasoline that contains more than 10 percent corn-based ethanol. It does not take effect until at least two of the six New England states in addition to Maine also ban the sale of fuel blends containing more than 10 percent corn ethanol.

In a veto message, Mills noted “E15 is not currently sold in Maine, and, as of now, there is insufficient scientific evidence or data to support the claim that it adversely impacts health.”

She cites a study conducted jointly by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. EPA that concluded there does not appear to be any significant health impacts from the widespread use of E10, but noted the potential health impacts of fuel with much higher blends of ethanol have been less well studied.

“Without sufficient study, and given this fuel is not currently sold in Maine, I am not prepared for the state to declare a ban,” Mills wrote in her veto message. “However, if new and reputable scientific evidence emerges that higher levels of ethanol in fuel do in fact adversely impact health, I will be happy to revisit and reconsider this legislation. For these reasons, I return LD 822 unsigned and vetoed.”

According to information released by the governor’s office, LD 822 is the first bill Mills has vetoed. She has signed 102 bills into law.