NRCM Applauds This Key First Step
Governor Baldacci and Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection released its final plan to reduce global warming pollution in Maine. The plan is the result of a year of work by over 100 Maine stakeholders who worked in five stakeholder groups, which include scientists, academics, health care professionals, and representatives of conservation groups, and the oil, gas, automobile, forest and agricultural industries.
“The Natural Resources Council of Maine applauds Governor Baldacci, Commissioner Gallagher and all stakeholders who have been a part of creating this comprehensive and reasonable work plan for Maine,” stated Sue Jones, energy project director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine. “Today’s release will help pave the way for increased efficiency, cleaner, greener energy, and a more sustainable way of life in Maine – all while reducing global warming pollution that threatens of our natural resource economy.”
Maine’s global warming action plan lists 55 measures that together will enable Maine to meet its statutory global warming pollution reduction goals 1990 level by 2010, and 10% below 1990 levels by 2020. The measures cover all economic sectors from transportation to electricity to buildings.
“Maine’s Final Action Plan includes a range of steps which, taken together, will help us do our part to stem global warming pollution,” said Sue Jones, energy project director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine who was a member of all five stakeholder groups that helped craft the state’s action plan. “Maine has shown a lot of leadership, yet much more remains to be done to avert the impacts of global warming.”
“Now, we need to immediately get these programs and initiatives going. The key steps for Maine are to set sales goals for getting additional cleaner, more efficient cars and trucks on the road in Maine; increase the number and breadth of new programs that encourage electricity and natural gas efficiency, and support new incentives for solar, wind and other cleaner sources of electricity,” said Jones.
“All of these policies are being employed in at least one other state,” said Jones, “and their adoption will bring immediate benefits – in reduced global warming pollution, smog and ozone, public health emergencies and threats, significant cost savings, and greater energy independence.”
Global warming is caused by a blanket of pollution that traps heat around the Earth. This pollution comes from our cars, power plants, factories and homes when we burn fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas.
In June 2003, Maine became the first state in the nation to enact a law setting goals to reduce global warming pollution. The law also requires the State to create a voluntary global warming pollution reduction program for businesses and nonprofit organizations, mandatory reporting of global warming pollution by large sources, creation of an inventory of the State’s global warming emissions, and development of the Maine Climate Action Plan.
There has already been some progress – over the past few years, the State of Maine has:
• Adopted two Executive Orders Greening the State Transportation Fleet, and Greening State Buildings; purchasing 50% of the State’s electricity through “green” power; implementing energy efficiency measures at state facilities; hiring a Director of Energy Independence and Security to oversee energy policy; and creating an Energy Resources Council to coordinate State energy programs.
• Switched management of electricity conservation to the Public Utilities Commission, which launched the “Efficiency Maine Program” to provide the public with services and incentives to reduce electricity use.
• Nearly completed a statewide greenhouse gas emissions inventory, and “broke new ground” in calculating forestry and agricultural sector emissions.
Maine joins many states around the U.S. who are enacting plans to reduce global warming pollution, in the face of federal inaction to do the same. All New England states are working together to reduce emissions regionally. Each is in the process of either creating or implementing key actions to reduce global warming pollution.
Maine’s DEP, when finalizing the Climate Action Plan, must ensure that it meets the reduction goals outlined in law. “This may require additional policies that the groups did not have time to fully consider,” said Jones. “We look forward to working with the State and all stakeholders to put this plan into action.”