Landmark Global Warming Bill Introduced in Maine Environment Groups Praise Innovative Approach

Brian Barth

Contacts:
Steve Hinchman, CLF Staff Attorney
(207) 729-7733 ext. 13

Today a bipartisan group of legislators have taken an unprecedented step toward controlling global warming pollution in Maine . LD 1090, “An Act To Authorize the State’ s Participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative,” would establish mandatory limits on global warming pollution from Maine electric generators, and would enable Maine businesses to participate in a regional marketplace for emission reductions. The Conservation Law Foundation, Environment Maine, Environment Northeast, Environmental Defense, Natural Resources Council of Maine, and the Nature Conservancy are joining together to applaud this effort.

The bill would reduce global warming pollution from power plants by nearly 20 percent by the year 2019.

LD 1090 is designed to benefit Maine ’s economy as well as its environment. With proceeds generated from the auction of emissions credits, the legislation can save electricity customers 5 to 15% on electricity bills, help protect against rate increases, and generate an “energy fund” worth up to $30 million to help Mainers save money and invest in energy efficiency. Here is what environmental advocates had to say:

“This initiative — with its focus on energy efficiency as the best means to cut our global warming emissions — is just the sort of investment in Maine’ s future that is called for in the Brookings institute report,” said CLF attorney Steve Hinchman. “Investing in energy efficiency now will help lower our utility bills, reduce pollution and make Maine businesses more globally competitive.”

Jennifer Andersen of Environment Maine added, “Maine is once again taking the lead on reducing global warming pollution. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is an important part of this effort that at the same time provides economic benefits and reduces electrical rates.”

“The reality is that states are leading Washington on global warming,” said Melissa Carey, Climate Change Policy Specialist at Environmental Defense. “By being part of the first group of states to adopt mandatory limits, Maine businesses will be better prepared for a national program. And further, when does Maine ever get to show Washington how it’s done?”

“The bipartisan support for this bill reflects a new reality that Mainers are impatient for solutions to global warming and are tired of finger pointing and delay,” said Michael Stoddard, Deputy Director of Environment Northeast. “Adopting the RGGI program is essential to controlling our state’ s future energy costs we congratulate the legislature for introducing it.”

“Changing weather patterns are altering the land and water we depend on and will absolutely leave many plant and animal species with nowhere to turn,” said Bruce Kidman of The Nature Conservancy “Years of on-the-ground conservation work and public investment could be rendered meaningless. Simply put, climate change poses the greatest threat to cherished places around the world – including right here in Maine .

“We applaud leaders in the House and the Senate for their hard work in advancing this important initiative,” says Dylan Voorhees of the Natural Resources Council of Maine. “This global warming program is the right fit for Maine and our lawmakers know it.”

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