Augusta, Maine – It almost sounds like the set-up for a joke – a doctor, an ice fisherman and his daughter walk into a Senate office – but it happened last week, and their topic was the serious issue of carbon pollution.
The ice fisherman is Zach Wozich with the Sebago Lake Anglers Association. He says he brought along his daughter Samantha, a 9-year-old cancer survivor, to meet with members of Congress and help drive home the point that the decisions made today about the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan will affect generations to come.
“We’ve already done the damage, but if we want to correct it, we have that power to do that as well,” says Wozich. “And the people, the generation who is really going to be benefiting from their future, is folks like my daughter – you know, kids of their age.”
A farmer and power company representative were also among the Mainers who met with the state’s congressional delegation.
Opponents say the Clean Power Plan’s goal of reducing carbon emissions from power plants by about one-third by the year 2030 is too strict, but Wozich says they made the case that Maine is already benefiting from the shift to cleaner power.
Dr. Tony Owens works in the Emergency Room at Maine Medical Center. He told lawmakers the Clean Power Plan offers Maine the opportunity to drive down the rates of mosquito and tick-related diseases, as well as the incidence of asthma, in young and old.
“We have one of the highest rates of pediatric asthma in the country,” says Owens. “By hopefully getting our air cleaner, reducing its further deterioration, we can begin to reduce that trend.”
Owens has written about the need for climate policy decisions to be science based. He says Maine’s congressional delegation already has plenty of evidence from the state’s positive track record with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
Since carbon pollution has already been significantly reduced, he says it should be easy for Maine to comply with the Clean Power Plan’s flexible limits.