A bluShift biofuel rocket launches from the former Loring Air Force Base in Limestone in Aroostook County, Maine, on Jan. 31, 2021. Credit: Courtesy of The Knack Factory / bluShift Aerospace via AP

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Michael Cianchette is a Navy reservist who served in Afghanistan. He is in-house counsel to a number of businesses in southern Maine and was a chief counsel to former Gov. Paul LePage.

JFK rallied the nation around a literal moonshot, in his words, “not because it is easy, but because it is hard.” That speech was delivered in 1962.  

Now, 60 years later, Maine is catching up.

The Legislature this week moved a bill forward to create the “Maine Space Corporation.” It is one of those rare pieces of significant legislation that nearly everyone agrees on.  

The only testimony in the file against the initiative came from several members of the far, anti-any-military-related-activity left. Two GOP committee members opposed it, seemingly on libertarian grounds. Both stands were principled.  

However, the bill should speed toward enactment.  

I wrote a letter several years back to the then-newly elected members of the 129th Legislature offering them some advice. It was probably worth what they paid for it. But, to build future prosperity, I encouraged them to focus on our next economy. Transportation can play a huge role there.

Sen. Angus King has spent part of his time in Washington focusing on Arctic shipping opportunities. Sen. Susan Collins helped push grants moving space-related opportunities forward.

In short, there is a lot we can do. But none of this occurs in isolation.

Our geographic position presents huge transport opportunities. Couple that with deepwater ports and long, leftover military runways; we have the ability to move people and goods to a lot of different locations.  

Yet transportation is energy intensive, and as we all know too well, our electricity costs are high and only getting worse. Whatever gripes about Central Maine Power and Versant Power exist, the most recent spike is not their doing. That was caused by a huge increase in the “standard offer” for power supply coming from generators.  

Creating the Maine Space Corp. is a good step toward future economic opportunity. The robust consensus in Augusta gives it a heft and gravitas to keep a promising initiative advancing. It is an example of policy-making actually working; a problem is identified, a solution crafted and then resoundingly enacted.

The big work of the 130th Legislature will come to a close soon. We’re about two months away from primary elections, and less than seven months from Nov. 8.  

There will definitely be many new faces in Augusta. The governor will be someone who has experience in office. And they will have a Maine Space Corp. ready to roll.

So here’s a hope for the 131st Legislature. Take the momentum and carry it forward. Our economic prosperity requires energy. The cost of energy is too darn high.

As far as I can tell, the “standard offer” does not depend on whether you are a Democrat or a Republican. There are a lot of things that feed into it. Some of the cost is driven by our own policies. Some are driven by Washington. Other parts are driven by international commodity markets.

But if we want the Maine Space Corp. — and other well-paying future Maine businesses — to be a success, we need to create an environment where they can thrive. Reducing energy costs is a critical piece of the puzzle.  

Prior legislatures have signature achievements. The GOP-led 125th Legislature made significant headway improving health insurance affordability, until it was supplanted by the Affordable Care Act. The 126th Legislature reworked Maine’s liquor distribution system and fulfilled then-Gov. Paul LePage’s promise to repay hundreds of millions to Maine hospitals.  

Let’s make the 131st Legislature the one which makes real, substantive progress toward our energy goals. Not because it is easy, but because it is hard.

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Michael Cianchette, Opinion columnist

Michael Cianchette is a Navy reservist who served in Afghanistan. He is in-house counsel to a number of businesses in southern Maine and was a chief counsel to former Gov. Paul LePage.