Over the past four years, the clean air and water that fuels Maine’s economy has been threatened by the Trump Administration’s relentless rollbacks of more than 100 environmental safeguards and their refusal to hold corporate polluters accountable. Meanwhile, Mainers continue to experience the impacts of climate change first-hand, whether it be rising seas, extreme weather, or the increase in tick-borne illnesses.
The release of Maine’s new Climate Action Plan in December 2020 laid out a positive path forward for tackling climate change and growing our economy by advancing climate solutions and clean energy technologies. One thing is for sure—we can’t do it alone. For Maine and other states to be successful and deliver the greatest benefit to our residents, we’ll need help from Congress and the federal government.
Thankfully President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have promised an ambitious plan to create new jobs by addressing the climate crisis. They were elected to take the threat of climate change seriously, and they have a mandate to take action. A national poll taken after the November 2020 election found that majorities of voters across the political spectrum support policies to reduce pollution, develop new sources of clean energy, improve energy efficiency, and conserve land.
The Biden-Harris nominees for climate action and environment reflect the seriousness with which this new administration intends to tackle these enormous challenges. Their cabinet and staff picks are a climate-forward roster, all of whom have spoken openly about rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, fostering international collaboration to address climate change, and making climate central to economic revitalization. These leaders will all restore science-based policy making to undo the damage to our air, water, lands, wildlife, and communities.
With these first picks, President Biden has fulfilled his promise to integrate climate policy into every level of his administration — carrying out his comprehensive plan to cut carbon pollution and invest in clean energy infrastructure, creating jobs, and protecting public health and our communities.
That’s why the Natural Resources Council of Maine is calling on Senators Susan Collins and Angus King to confirm President Biden’s nominees with haste so they can hit the ground running. We’re working with our national partners as part of the Confirm Climate coalition to drive Senate action on President Biden’s key climate nominees. The coalition will hold Senators accountable for their votes on these important nominees. We want the Biden Administration to have every tool available to them to grasp the opportunity to stop or reverse many of Trump’s dangerous rollbacks.
The Biden-Harris climate team is our best hope for meeting the immense scale of the environmental crisis we find ourselves in. A President deserves to have their cabinet. And President Biden’s cabinet will tackle the climate crisis with bold, ambitious action to reduce pollution and strengthen our economy.
It is long past time for the federal government to act on climate. With a groundbreaking team of White House climate appointments, President Biden will begin immediately to fulfill his promise to prioritize climate and act to protect our health and our livable future.
—Emmie Theberge, NRCM Federal Director