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Maine Not Backing Down on Work to Reduce Carbon


Friday, February 12, 2016   

BANGOR, Maine - A state leader says Maine will not back down on its work to reduce the threat of climate change.

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan pending a U.S. appeals court review. However, according to Maine Attorney General Janet Mills, the ruling doesn't overturn the Clean Power Plan. She said the state will continue to cut carbon pollution. As a member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, she said, Maine already has invested $2.2 billion in seven years in energy-efficiency and renewable-energy programs.

"The states involved are proud to have reduced CO2 emissions by approximately 40 percent in the last 10 years," she said. "So, we're working our tails off, because it's the right thing to do for our economy and for our people's health."

Several states, utilities and industry groups have claimed the standards would result in lost jobs and reduced electric-grid reliability. According to the EPA, the Clean Power Plan will provide nearly $54 billion in climate and health benefits.

Heather Zichal, former deputy assistant for energy and climate in the Obama administration, said there's strong public support for the standards, and that she thinks states that are moving ahead with carbon-cutting strategies are just being smart.

"As we have seen the growing body of scientific evidence showing that climate change is happening," she said, "the impacts are real in our communities and our states. It really does underscore that the time to act is now."

While some states have said the rules are over-reaching, Mills contended that the Clean Power Plan respects state regulation of energy, while addressing dangerous pollutants.

"Carbon dioxide doesn't know state geography. It doesn't know the Piscataquis River. It doesn't know where the mountains and rivers separate state boundaries," she said. "That's not relevant. It's not a matter of politics. It's a matter of preserving our quality of life, our jobs, our tourist industry and our fisheries, in particular."

Mills noted that warmer water temperatures and rising sea levels are among the effects of climate change that threaten the state's wildlife, environment and economy.

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