Senator Brownie Carson, Chair
Representative Ralph Tucker, Chair
Joint Standing Committee on Environment and Natural Resources
My name is Lisa Pohlmann, CEO of the Natural Resources Council of Maine. NRCM strongly supports LD 1679 because it is the right vehicle to jump-start Maine’s efforts to tackle climate change in ways that will benefit Maine people, our environment, and our economy. This bill put forward by Governor Mills and Senator Woodsome helps get the State of Maine re-oriented so it can tackle climate change.
- A target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions that is based on science.
- A pathway for achieving a statewide plan that will turn these targets into action.
- A planning and coordinating body—which is the new Climate Council—that will ensure a wide range of Maine voices are heard and included in creating the action plan.
- And measures to ensure that state government lives up to its promise to implement the plan.
If enacted, LD 1679 would be the most significant climate-related policy measure adopted in Maine since 2003. The targets to reduce emissions 80% by 2050 and get 100% of our power from renewable sources by 2050 will provide a strong framework for action. We have also collaborated with the Governor’s staff to incorporate the appropriate leverage to make this climate plan endure into the future, no matter what governor is in the Blaine House.
It is important to note that LD 1679 aligns with many of the provisions in a bipartisan bill (LD 797), introduced by Rep. Ralph Tucker (D-Brunswick) and Sen. Bob Foley (R-York) that received widespread support from a diverse group of Mainers, including lobstermen, farmers, local businesses, religious groups, and conservation groups including NRCM.
Climate scientists have for decades predicted the extreme weather and changes to our oceans that so many Mainers are experiencing first-hand. One of my staff members was out last week due to a tick-borne illness and I just had the first tick of the season on me last weekend after weeding in my garden. The signs of climate change are bearing down upon us, and I am relieved that we have a governor now who takes this issue very seriously.
I also want to note that in order to make needed progress on climate change, we need many major, specific clean energy policies that are being debated right now. For example, the renewable energy targets in LD 1679 are very positive, but to make them a reality, we need to also support LD 1494, an Act to Reform Maine’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, which will help Maine do our part in the Northeast region to transition toward a more diverse, reliable and cleaner electricity mix. That bill is currently in the Energy, Utility, and Technology Committee.
We are grateful to Governor Mills for making action on climate change a cornerstone of her administration, and for acknowledging this work must happen across all levels of state government. We extend our thanks to both Governor Mills and Senator Woodsome for their leadership and hope that you will vote Ought to Pass on LD 1679.
I’d be happy to answer any questions.