Since the fall, we’ve seen the consequences of our continued dependence on oil and gas here in Maine:
- Heating oil and utility gas prices have spiked, becoming unaffordable for too many Maine people.
- The New England grid’s reliance on expensive natural gas caused electricity prices to nearly double this winter.
- And now Putin’s war in Ukraine is causing prices at the pump to balloon.
These high costs squeeze everyone, but the impacts fall most heavily on those least able to pay: low-income families, disadvantaged communities and communities of color, and seniors on fixed incomes.
Let’s be perfectly clear: we will continue to experience big spikes in gas prices and energy costs as long as we are dependent on oil. That’s because oil and gas supplies are unreliable, and fossil fuel CEOs care way more about their profits than they do about Maine people’s household budgets.
Unlike oil and gas, clean energy sources like wind and solar will never run out; they don’t create pollution; they’re produced right here in Maine; and will provide a reliable and stable energy supply long into the future.
The fact is: clean energy is energy independence.
Here are a couple of things the Natural Resources Council of Maine is focused on that we can do right now:
- Lower fossil fuel expenses for Maine families by continuing to expand weatherization and heat pump programs.
- Bring more home-grown clean energy to Maine by passing LD 1350 and support the responsible development of offshore wind, a big new source of clean energy for Maine.
- Hold our utilities accountable and transition the electric grid to clean, renewable energy at lower costs by passing LD 1959.
- Help Mainers free themselves from gas prices once and for all by supporting funding in the budget for Efficiency Maine’s incentive program for electric cars and trucks.
- Give Maine people transportation options by encouraging the Maine Department of Transportation to put more funding toward expanding transit, and safer biking and walking paths.
- Save taxpayer money by passing LD 1579 to set goals for state and local fleets to transition to electric vehicles.
- Urge Maine’s Congressional delegation to support federal funding to help local cities and towns adopt more clean energy and electrify transportation.
We have made a lot of progress on climate change and clean energy over the past few years, but there’s still a lot we can do. Let’s do it together!
—by Jack Shapiro, NRCM Climate & Clean Energy Director
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