Maine business, health, elected, academic, conservation leaders express their support, urge support for federal climate change standards
Bangor/Portland—A coalition of local business, health, elected, academic, and conservation leaders are joining the “I Will Act on Climate” bus as it arrived in Bangor and Portland, Maine Monday, August 12, as part of 27-state tour. The “I Will” bus is touring places, like Bangor and Portland, which have been directly affected by climate change, to highlight the need for our federal and state representatives to support bold action to protect our communities from the most catastrophic effects of climate change.
“I WILL ACT on climate change because global warming is a non-partisan issue and we need to work together,” said Caroline Pryor, Board chair of Maine Conservation Voters. “The solution is complex but it starts by working together, across party lines.”
“Climate change is a threat to our economy and way of life in Maine and we have already started to see the effect it’s having on our fisheries, for example,” said Maine Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. “But the way we respond to that threat is an opportunity to create new jobs through the development of clean energy sources and new technologies, and clearly the President has recognized that opportunity with his comprehensive climate plan.”
“Climate change is real and cannot be ignored. Unfortunately, gridlock in Washington has stalled progress on a whole host of issues, including this one,” said Maine Congressman Mike Michaud. “I strongly support the President taking the lead and announcing important steps his administration will take to address climate change and promote clean energy. But it’s long past time that Congress becomes a productive part of a national strategy. I’m hopeful this tour and the resulting calls to policymakers will help send a strong message that we want action, not more of the same.”
“We all need to be better stewards of the environment, including by addressing climate change as quickly as possible,” said Jim Merryman, lobsterman and owner, Potts Harbor Lobster Company in Harpswell. “The ocean and its lobsters provide our livelihood. Lobsters are part of Maine, and I hope our leaders do their part to help keep it that way.”
“Maine is defined by our forests,” said Alec Giffen, a senior scientist at the Clean Air Task Force and former director of the Maine Forest Service. “Forests are already impacted by climate change, this is not a hypothetical. Bigger changes are in the offing and we need to aggressively start addressing climate change NOW. Rather than being a part of the problem, forests can be a major part of the solution in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
The “I Will Act on Climate” bus tour has hit the road on the heels of President Obama’s June 25th announcement at which he unveiled a national climate action plan, which includes the nation’s first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants along with measures to strengthen our nation’s infrastructure against the effects of climate change and new investments in clean energy and energy efficiency. Maine conservation groups and others invited the bus to events in Bangor and Portland. Bus tour participants encouraged citizens to call on Senators Collins and King to act on climate by supporting the President’s climate action plan and particularly industrial carbon pollution limits.
“In a few days, I will become a grandfather and I want to be able to tell my grandchild that we have done everything we can to slow climate change,” said Portland Mayor Michael Brennan. “Climate change is a global problem that requires action at all levels city, state, country, and planet to cut carbon pollution. Just as we have placed limits on other pollutants to protect the health and safety of our community, we need to apply those same controls on carbon and President Obama’s limits on carbon pollution for new and existing power plants is the right place to start. I want to know that the beautiful environment my grandchild will enjoy in Portland will be there for his grandchild, too.”
“The predictions regarding the adverse health impacts of climate change have begun to occur in Maine and across the globe, including the spread of infectious diseases, more heat-related illnesses, more outbreaks of water-borne diseases from contaminated drinking water, more respiratory illnesses due to elevated ozone levels, and impaired nutrition due to declining crop yields from drought and heat,” said Dr. Paul Perkins, a physician practicing in Bath and chair of Physicians for Social Responsibility’s Climate Change Committee.
“I see climate change as an issue of vast importance to our children’s and grandchildren’s health,” said retired physician Dr. Bill Horner. “Seeing climate change as a health issue is important to bringing people together around the problem and solutions.”
“Maine’s two Senators have a record of speaking up on the problem of climate change, the need to reduce air pollution, and the opportunities for expanded clean energy,” said Dylan Voorhees, Clean Energy Director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine. “Now the Administration is poised to move forward with some of the most important clean air standards ever to protect us from extreme climate change. We hope they will both be among the early supporters of real action.”
“President Obama’s historic climate protection plan to reduce carbon pollution moves our nation away from dangerous and expensive dependency on fossil fuels, and towards a cleaner, safer and more reliable energy future,” said Glen Brand, Sierra Club Maine Chapter Director. “For Mainers, this means healthier air, greater energy independence, and new economic opportunities.”
“Climate change is no longer a distant threat. New Englanders are already feeling the impacts with seasonal change and increased heavy precipitation,” said Curt Spalding, EPA Regional Administrator for New England. “We must work together to make our communities more resilient to impacts while reducing carbon emissions to ensure a healthy environment and economy for our future generations.”
“We urgently need action on climate change,” said Kate Rush, a partner at Evolo Energy Solutions in Newport. “As a solar installer, I’m happy to be part of the solution while contributing to the Maine economy. We also need federal action, like the President’s plan to cut global warming pollution from power plants.”
“Maine has the highest per capita oil consumption and the highest per capita CO2 emissions in New England, which is bad news for residents as well as the visitors who support our #1 industry, tourism,” said Phil Coupe, co-founder of ReVision Energy. “The good news is that Maine has abundant renewable energy resources in the form of tidal, biomass, wind, and solar power. ReVision Energy’s mission is to help Maine make the necessary long-term transition from finite, polluting fossil energy to clean, renewable energy.”
Maine and eight other Northeast states have already adopted global warming pollution limits for their power plants through a regional market-based program known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or RGGI. This program puts a fixed limit on the total amount of pollution regional power plants can emit. Recently Maine passed legislation approving large, mutually agreed upon reduction in this limit. It is expected that RGGI could now play a significant role as the implementation mechanism for new federal global warming standards for power plants in the northeast.
The “I Will Act on Climate” bus is traveling through Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Nebraska, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, and New Jersey.
The “I Will” Act on Climate bus tour (#ActOnClimate) is supported by a diverse set of local, state-based, and national public health, progressive, and environmental organizations. Organizations across the country are joining in this effort by bringing the —I Will’s bus to their local communities, highlighting impacts of climate change and opportunities created by climate action, and calling for local action.