400 Businesses Have Signed On Urging Collins to Act
NRCM News Release
PORTLAND, MAINE – Today, leading environmental organizations, lobstermen, wind and ocean energy experts, and other Mainers gathered near Senator Collins’ Portland office encouraging her to support the EPA’s Clean Power Plan when she goes back to Washington, D.C. next week. They unveiled a list of more than 400 business leaders who have written to specifically ask for Senator Collins’ support for the EPA plan, which would cut carbon pollution from power plants and be the most significant step the United States has ever taken to reduce climate-changing pollution. The conservation groups also cited the fact that nearly 40,000 Mainers have written comments to the EPA in support of action to curb carbon pollution from power plants using the Clean Air Act.
While Senator Angus King and Representatives Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud have publicly supported the proposal, Senator Collins has not yet done so. Collins has expressed strong concern about climate change on many occasions. Among her actions to promote clean energy and support climate action, she has voted previously against Senate Republicans’ efforts to derail the EPA carbon effort before it even began.
“Maine business leaders and citizens strongly support the Clean Power Plan because it will be good for our state’s environment and economy,” said Dylan Voorhees, Clean Energy Director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine. “We are here today because when Senator Collins heads back to DC next week she will faces a storm of opposition from corporate polluters and their allies from other parts of the country. We want her to hear loud and clear that here in Maine, we have her back and we need her leadership.”
The groups displayed graphic materials that show how business leaders across many sectors of the Maine economy care about climate and want the Senators to support the carbon plan. These range from scores of inns and restaurants in hospitality and outdoor tourism-related businesses, to farms and fisheries, to prominent Maine brands like Baxter Brewing Company and Lamey-Wellehan Shoes.
Paul Williamson, Coordinator for the Wind and Ocean Energy Initiative spoke about the large benefits clean, renewable energy investments and policies have for Maine. Just last week, a new report by the Maine Technology Institute showed that clean energy tops the list of high tech industries in Maine with the most potential for job growth. These industries will thrive as we address our climate change problems. He urged Senator Collins to keep this in mind as she heads back to Washington, and to throw her support behind the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.
The EPA proposal would cut carbon pollution by 30% by 2030, using an approach that maximizes flexibility for states. The EPA also commended the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) as a model and allowed it to be used by the Northeast states to demonstrate their compliance with the plan. So far RGGI has delivered more than $250 million in lifetime energy savings from energy efficiency programs for Maine homes, businesses, and industry.
“As a former lobsterman from Cliff Island, I feel a deep responsibility to protect Casco Bay, its hardworking people, and its incredible resources,” said Ted Reiner of South Portland. “The lobster and fishing industries, marinas and recreational interests, the vacation and hospitality industries, and the area’s magnetism as a ’high-quality place to live’ all depend on protecting our air, our land, our drinking water, and our coastal waters. What kind of world do we want to pass on to our children?”
“My two young granddaughters living here in Maine are my future, and I keep asking myself if the choice I am considering is right for them,” said Dan Amory, Board President, Maine Conservation Voters. “Children—along with the elderly and the poor—are the most vulnerable to suffer adverse health-effects from climate change. So I’m here to support the Clean Power Plan proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency.”
Power plants are responsible for 40 percent of U.S. carbon pollution. While federal law protects the public from other pollutants from power plants, such as mercury, soot, and arsenic, there are no federal limits on the carbon pollution from power plants that contributes to global warming. The EPA Clean Power Plan is aimed at correcting that.