Maine is a leader in the fight on global warming

For more than a decade, Maine has been at the forefront of national efforts to shift to clean energy and to reduce the pollution that contributes to global warming.  

Maine has adopted strong policies that work to reduce global warming, including a requirement that we obtain an increasing portion of our electricity from new renewable sources, standards to reduce pollution from cars and light trucks, and strong energy efficiency programs. 

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative: A success to build on

In 2007, Maine joined with 10 other states in the Northeast to establish one of the most important global warming reduction programs in the country — the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

RGGI has broken important ground. It’s the first program in the United States to limit global warming pollution from power plants, sell permits to emit carbon, and invest the revenues in energy efficiency and clean energy initiatives. Even more importantly, RGGI is a model for the country. It has demonstrated that other states, other regions, and the nation as a whole could use a similar model to reduce pollution. 

And so far, RGGI has been a tremendous success. Maine is investing the proceeds, more than $27 million dollars so far, on programs to improve energy efficiency and to accelerate the development of cleaner energy sources. RGGI has already saved Maine consumers $120 million, created more than 900 new jobs, and grown Maine’s economy by $92 million.

About one-third of RGGI investments have helped industrial companies, like Madison Paper in Somerset County, make energy efficiency improvements. Among other improvements, the grants will enable Madison Paper to install new heat exchangers to capture heat from its wastewater and papermaking process. All told, these energy improvements will save Madison Paper $2 million annually. Madison’s Reliability Engineer Joe Clark explains, “These savings will help secure the future of an established paper mill facing difficult economic pressures.” Most of the remaining funds have supported Efficiency Maine’s Business Program.

Despite these results, fossil fuel interests, led by Americans for Prosperity and other anti-regulatory ideologues, are trying to kill or weaken the program. However, the Maine Legislature rejected a bill in 2011 to pull Maine out of the program.

Now, advocates in Maine and across the Northeast are calling for the state officials to update and strengthen the program so that it delivers even greater environmental and economic benefits.

Fortunately, there is strong public support in Maine for reducing pollution from power plants and shifting to clean energy.  Environment Maine staff are working with a broad coalition to convince state officials strengthen RGGI, which is critical to Maine’s efforts to meet our energy and environmental goals.  

With your support, we can strengthen RGGI and cut global warming pollution.

We’re making progress — but we need your support to defend and strengthen RGGI. Join our campaign today, and urge state lawmakers to strengthen RGGI so we can expand Maine’s efforts to reduce global warming pollution from power plants and shift to clean energy.



Global Warming Updates

News Release | Environment Maine

Environment Maine Applauds Action on Climate Change

Portland, Maine—Northeast and Mid-Atlantic state officials today announced improvements to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) that would reduce power plant pollution in the region by more than 20 percent over the next decade.  However, Gov. Paul LePage indicated he will propose legislation to redirect the revenue Maine receives from auctioning pollution credits under the program, which is currently invested in energy efficiency.

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News Release | Environment Maine

Portland Mayor, Councilor Endorse Making Portland City Operations Tar Sands-Free

Portland, Maine—Portland Mayor Michael Brennan and City Councilor David Marshall today joined Environment Maine, the Sebago Lake Anglers Association, 350 Maine, NRCM, and others to press for passage of a new policy that would make Maine’s largest city tar sands-free. If Portland passes the policy, the City Council would direct the City Manager not to purchase any oil-based fuels from refineries that process tar sands. The Environmental Performance Policy is intended to minimize the environmental impact of City operations.

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Headline

Canadian firm may ask to send tar sands oil through region

A Maine environmental group says a Canadian company is seeking to reverse the flow of a major trans-Canada oil pipeline, potentially bringing so-called tar sands oil to New England for export.

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News Release | Environment Maine

Pipeline Application Means “Dirtiest Oil on the Planet” Is Headed to New England’s Doorstep

Canada’s mega-oil pipeline company Enbridge filed an application today to move forward on the reversal of its Line 9 pipeline, likely bringing tar sands oil eastward to Montreal.  If approved, this would open the door to bringing the corrosive tar sands through Ontario, Quebec, and New England for export.  

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Headline

Will the New England ski season fall short again?

Used to be, New England winters were big snow years or low snow years — but never no snow years. The New England skier was not raised to consider snow an unreliable occurrence.

But after a winter with little more than trace amounts of snow, which followed a winter of record snowfalls, it is hard to have clear expectations as ski season begins.

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