Augusta, ME – From shellfish growers and farmers to doctors and home-grown clean energy businesses, a wide range of Mainers testified today in support of a bipartisan bill to spark action on climate change.
An Act to Limit Greenhouse Gas Pollution and Effectively Use Maine’s Natural Resources (LD 797) would set Maine on a clear path forward for tackling climate change by reducing carbon pollution and growing local economies, while protecting families and businesses from the worst effects of the changing climate..
“The one risk that keeps me up at night is the rapid pace at which the Gulf of Maine is warming…with it comes additional costs to operate my business and less income for my family,” said Ben Hamilton, owner of Love Point Oysters in Harpswell. “Maine is blessed with an incredibly productive coast and a proud working waterfront, but we must take action now to preserve this rich legacy for generations to come.”
The comprehensive climate bill would set a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050, and has been identified as a priority by conservation and public health groups because it would create a clear framework for acting on climate after years of delay.
The legislation, sponsored by Representative Ralph Tucker (D-Brunswick) and Senator Robert Foley (R-York), would also establish a clear process for updating Maine’s Climate Action Plan by engaging a diverse range of Mainers in identifying solutions that will dramatically reduce fossil fuel use while benefiting all Maine people.
“The future of our state’s vital agricultural economy depends on addressing climate change, starting now. That’s why we applaud this bill, which will ensure that the voices of agriculture stakeholders are heard in the creation of Maine’s climate action plan.” Ellen Stern Griswold, Policy and Research Director at the Maine Farmland Trust.
“As the impacts of climate change become ever more apparent, it is critical for Mainers to step up and take action to protect our health, way of life, and environment for future generations,” said Emily K. Green, Staff Attorney at the Conservation Law Foundation. “Mainers know that we need to drastically reduce carbon pollution to avoid the catastrophic effects of climate change, and this bill puts us on the right path while enhancing the state’s economy.”
“The transition to a clean energy future presents exciting opportunities to expand Maine’s economy, protect our communities, and invest in innovative solutions that will benefit people in every corner of the state,” said Dylan Voorhees, Climate & Clean Energy Director at the Natural Resources Council of Maine. “Scientists from Maine and around the world have made clear that we can no longer afford half steps.”
“We need to work toward solutions on climate change, and this bill creates a commonsense framework with clear emissions reduction targets, an inclusive planning process, and an achievable timeline” said Rob Wood, Energy Policy and Projects Advisor for The Nature Conservancy in Maine.
“Communities along the Maine coast have a matter of years, not decades, to prepare for the impacts of climate change,” said Nick Battista, Senior Policy Officer at the Island Institute. “Supporting the communities and economic sectors facing the biggest barriers to achieving emissions reductions is absolutely critical to ensuring the State’s natural resource dependent communities are treated fairly and not left behind.”
“CEI supports LD 797 because we believe that climate change is happening and that in doing what we can to protect the planet, we can also create significant, long-term economic opportunity for the people of Maine,” Amy Winston, Policy Associate, Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI).
“Maine must take immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to fight climate change,” said Beth Ahearn, Government Affairs Director for Maine Conservation Alliance. “This bill will create a clear roadmap for curbing harmful carbon pollution, while also creating jobs and protecting the health of Maine’s people and our environment. It sets a reasonable timeline to reach a crucial goal and includes input from diverse stakeholders. We have the technology to reach the goal, and now we will have the policy.”
The Maine Environmental Priorities Coalition is a partnership of 34 environmental, conservation, and public health organizations representing more than 100,000 members who want to protect the good health, good jobs, and quality of life that our environment provides.