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Maine House Democrats Sustain Governor's First Veto, Allow Sale Of Ethanol-Blended Gas To Continue

Charlie Riedel
AP Photo

Democrats in the Maine House of Representatives have sustained Gov. Janet Mills' first veto, flipping their previous support for a ban on the sale of gasoline containing more than 10 percent ethanol and killing the proposal altogether.

More than 30 House Democrats sided with the Republican minority in attempting to override the veto. But the override effort fell short by four votes, with most Democrats siding with Mills.

The bill's sponsor, Republican Rep. Beth O'Connor, of Berwick, during the floor debate said that some studies have shown that ethanol-blended gas can increase smog.

"We have enough lung disease in Maine. We don't need anymore. We have enough asthma in Maine. We don't need anymore," she said.

O'Connor's bill initially cleared the Democrat-controlled House in April without a roll call.

In her veto message, Mills said that there is not enough evidence to support claims that ethanol-blended gas adversely impacts public health.

The governor also said that the proposal is premature because gasoline with higher ethanol content is not currently sold in Maine.