A new time zone for Maine?

The state known for doing its own thing is looking to take that mantra one step further. Some Maine lawmakers want to push for a later sunset in the Pine Tree State in the winter.

The change would put Maine in the Atlantic Time Zone along with Nova Scotia and Puerto Rico, shifting one hour ahead of the other states in the east.

Bill Wiles, an English professor at Castleton University, who is from Maine, said unconvincingly, “It would be interesting.”

That skepticism seems to be the common thought from Mainers.

“I think it’s so dumb,” said Rachel Richard, a freshman at the University of Maine in Orono. “Just because it gets dark early in the winter is a silly reason to change it. That’s just something we deal with.”

Getting dark early doesn’t seem too big of an issue for some, but to lawmakers it makes sense to have changed. Sponsors say the move would increase economic opportunities and create less energy consumption because of the extra daylight in the afternoon and evening.

The change would essentially be like adopting daylight savings year-round, instead of only spring to fall. The sun sets in Maine about half an hour ahead of other east coast cities like Boston.

If lawmakers decide to bring this forward, they plan on having Mainers vote on the decision. In 2005 a committee trying to make the change unanimously endorsed the idea to switch over time zones, but it was halted there.

Changing the time zone could mean awkwardness regarding traveling for Castleton students like Kate West.

“It would kind of suck,” said West, a freshman, when asked how traveling from school to home would be if the change was implemented. From Castleton, it would take about four hours to get to Portland, Maine, one of the biggest cities. If Maine moved to Atlantic Time Zone it would technically take five hours to get to Portland, and three hours back.

Even if they decide to bring this decision to the polling booths, the reaction from most Mainers online and just in general seems to lean toward a landslide defeat.

Isolating Maine from the United States more than it already is does not seem to be a popular idea in the state.

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