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When the EPA announced the first-ever federal limits on carbon pollution from power plants in August, Evergreen joined Maine's climate activists in applause. Then we got to work building support for the Clean Power Plan through editorials & Congressional visits. Though the Senate recently voted to block the Plan, the political battle is far from over.
The Clean Power Plan sets state-by-state targets to reduce carbon emissions from power plants by 32% by 2030. It gives states flexibility in how they meet those targets, and suggests the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) as a possible path. This market-based collaboration between nine Northeast states, including Maine, limits total carbon pollution that power plants can emit regionally and allows the free market to determine which plants emit how much. Since 2007, this cap and trade system has reduced climate-changing carbon pollution, spurred investments in energy efficiency and clean energy, and a significant boost to our economy.
In the Bangor Daily News, Evergreen President Richard Burbank cites RGGI's positive impact on Maine's economy. In addition to generating funds for programs, operated by Efficiency Maine, that lower energy costs for homeowners and businesses of all sizes, RGGI has encouraged the development of Maine's homegrown energy resources. Job growth and energy security are two powerful reasons to support the Clean Power Plan.
In September, Evergreen Marketing Manager Kathleen Meil (far right in photo) joined climate change advocates in Washington, DC. Members of the Maine contingent (left) met with all four members of our Congressional delegation and shared the impact of climate change on farming, fishing, health, the economy, and our environment.
The Clean Power Plan was published in the Federal Register in October, notifying states that they must submit plans to meet their carbon reduction targets by September 2016. Twenty states are already on track to be more than halfway toward meeting their 2030 Clean Power Plan final targets, with 16 states, including Maine, set to surpass them. Despite this, the Plan faces opposition, especially from states in which coal plays a significant part in the economy, and the political battle is likely to heat up at the major international climate meeting in Paris this month.