Maine’s Storm and Electric Vehicles

What good could possibly come from a hurricane that hit Maine and left 400,000 without electric power, including me?  Until a few days ago, I was surrounded by water – a flooded lake. My house was an island.  If the water rose another foot, after rising a dozen feet, my heater and generator were gone. How was that good?

Here is how.  Sometimes, in the worst situations, we learn our biggest lessons. Maine was about to go “all-electric,” a Democrat-driven initiative to start mandating – the government forcing – Maine to buy electric cars, 40 percent by 2027, 82 percent by 2032, and kiss gas goodbye after that. Not anymore.

This storm has rendered overreliance on electricity – that is, government-mandated electric cars, snowplows, sand trucks, power restoration crews, ambulances, cruisers, and school busses – a complete dead end.

The State-wide meeting and “go-go-go” push by Democrats to drive fossil fuels into oblivion, forcing the state to depend on a fragile, old, and vulnerable national electric power grid, just hit a stone wall.

This storm proves electric power – to quote one realistic congressman – “useless.” God has a way of humbling us, and He just did big time. 

The state proposal, symbolic for the nation, suddenly has bipartisan opposition, and may finally tank. Maine’s environmental agency, set to approve the electric vehicle mandate (“railroad” is an insensitive term) was “indefinitely postponed.”

No kidding, no wonder, not a moment too soon – since anyone in their right mind knows now that mandating vehicles be electric in a State where nature can put a third of the citizens out of power for a week, is utter folly. Worse, it is dangerous.

The whole federally-driven initiative to turn everything electric was, from the start, anti-democratic, power-centralizing, and foolish. From a national security perspective, making the entire country dependent on electric power – a grid 80 percent fossil-fueled – for transportation, work, heat, cooling, food, and survival is an invitation to our enemies, not least China, to wipe us out by hitting the grid.

Now we have a more practical fact, a real thing – a big storm – that hits where it hurts, at home, where life depends on heat and reliable transportation, personal control over transportation, not state or federal control, not a pie-in-the-sky climate-friendly answer, but whether you can or cannot move.

That is where I am right now, glad for a gas-powered car. I do not want to rely on the federal government, which cannot keep streets safe, borders tight, or budgets balanced, nor on a state government intent on mandates.

Ironically, I was at a Maine school board meeting a week ago and heard a confession – by a superintendent who was sure he was right despite public doubt. He said the town had a fleet of nine electric school busses, and looked the room for nods, which did not come.

He then confessed some were back at the manufacturer, replaced by – gasp – gas-powered busses, for months. Curious, I listened. Why were the magical mystery busses, these wonderful Democrat-pushed electric busses, now in the shop?

The answer stunned me – and should any parent in a district with electric buses. Forget hurricanes, flooding lakes, and what we call life. The bus windshields leaked, they systemically leaked, letting water into the bus.

Why did that matter? The superintendent coyly admitted, that because the busses “are electric …”, which means leaks could electrocute the kids, a safety risk, pulled offline indefinitely. But never fear, he said, replacement gas busses were working.

Now, we come back to this mega-storm, which still has me stranded – along with thousands of other Mainers. The good news is, I have a gas car, a fossil fuel car, a car that – if needed – can be accessed to save me. If that car were electric, or we depended on electric-powered restoration crews, who knows?

And last, you may ask how you are reading a column typed on a computer that plugs into the wall of my water-surrounded home. Well, let me tell you how.

I do not believe the federal, state, or local government is responsible for me, my safety, security, heat, or power. I believe I am responsible, to the extent I can be. That is a sort of Maine thing, attitude of sorts, self-reliance, blame Robert Frost.

Thus, I have a generator, like half of Maine. That generator runs on propane, and the tank was filled ahead of time, as we know the power grid goes down in storms.

Bottom line:  Wishful thinking, government mandates, and overreliance on the power grid – when a gas-powered car, truck, plow, stove, furnace, and generator are the only reliable options, is foolish, and dangerous. This storm – from which we are still recovering – is a lesson for Maine and the nation.

Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman for AMAC.


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