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Governor's Bill Moves Maine Toward 100% Renewable Energy by 2050

Gov. Janet Mills' climate bill is the most ambitious in more than a decade for tackling the effects of climate change in Maine. (Adobe Stock)
Gov. Janet Mills' climate bill is the most ambitious in more than a decade for tackling the effects of climate change in Maine. (Adobe Stock)
May 1, 2019

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine would take an ambitious turn to fight climate change with a new bill announced Tuesday by Gov. Janet Mills.

The goals of LR 2478 are to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions 45% by 2030 and 80% by 2050. According to the Natural Resources Council of Maine, the governor's plan includes many aspects of a similar climate bill, LD 797, introduced earlier this year.

Ben Whalen, a co-owner of Bumbleroot Organic Farm in Windham, testified at a public hearing about that legislation and supports Maine's efforts to promote climate action.

"As a young farmer in the state of Maine, the effects of climate change are going to pretty severely affect my business," he said, "and we're really excited that the governor and the state are starting to propose bills that are going to give concrete targets regarding carbon emissions."

Sen. David Woodsome, R-York, is lead sponsor of the bill which ultimately directs the state to get 100% of its electric power from renewable sources by 2050. It would create a Maine Climate Council, to include leaders from various sectors to develop a strategy to meet these objectives.

Whalen said farmers want to be part of the conversation as Maine's climate action plan is developed, since they're already experiencing the effects of more extreme weather.

"We had our first hailstorm last July, which was something we'd never experienced before," he said, "and that wiped out our onion crop and severely damaged a lot of our summer field crops. And that definitely affected our sales for about a month there."

Mills first indicated her plan to create the Maine Climate Council in February. While the bill has some bipartisan support, other climate measures this legislative session are facing tougher opposition, including a failed proposal to enact a carbon tax.

Information about the bill is online at maine.gov.

Laura Rosbrow-Telem, Public News Service - ME