Testimony in Support of LD 1411, An Act to Require the Adoption of Sector-specific Greenhouse Gas Emissions Limits
Senator Brenner, Representative Gramlich, honorable members of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, my name is Jack Shapiro, and I am the Climate and Clean Energy Director at the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM). NRCM has been working for more than 60 years to protect, restore, and conserve Maine’s environment. I’m here today on behalf of our 25,000 members and supporters to testify in strong support of LD 1411, An Act to Require the Adoption of Sector-specific Greenhouse Gas Emissions Limits.
Maine has ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals set by the Legislature, and Maine’s Climate Council has been established to develop strategies and recommendations to meet those goals, including policies that address emissions across all of the various sectors of our economy.
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) already does exemplary work in their biennial greenhouse gas reports describing past emissions trends across multiple sectors over time.
What this bill would do is ask DEP to build on that work looking forward to create interim and sector-specific greenhouse gas reduction targets every four years based on each iteration of the Climate Action Plan.
This would codify the emissions reductions laid out in the Climate Action Plan, better enable the implementation of those plans across the government, and increase transparency and accountability, giving confidence that we are actually on track to achieve these critical targets.
Here are two quick examples of how this could help spread accountability and make progress across the government.
The Public Utilities Commission has a mandate to “facilitate the achievement” of our emissions reduction goals, but there are no electricity sector goals on which they can base any policy actions or decision-making.
Transportation accounts for about half of our emissions from fossil fuels, but the Department of Transportation (DOT) has no transportation sector goals in the near or long-term to help them scope or scale any changes to Department policies that might be necessary to ensure we address this critical piece of our emissions profile.
To be clear, there is no implied criticism of DEP’s existing work in this bill. But long-term efforts, like the effort to decarbonize Maine’s economy, are always difficult to implement, especially over many years, and when Legislatures and administrations change. The best thing we can do is institute the structures today that are necessary to ensure we are maintaining transparency and consistent accountability to achieve these goals over time.
Setting sector-specific and interim emissions targets is an essential step for us to take to make sure our greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets are not just distant numbers on paper, but serve as a transparent guide for planning, forecasting, investing, and decision-making for entities across the state.
We urge the Committee to vote Ought to Pass on LD 1411 and would be happy to answer any questions that you have.