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

Headline

The Oil Industry Hits an Unexpected Roadblock

Opponents of tar sands—the massive bituminous oil deposits in Alberta, Canada with a greenhouse gas impact four times greater than that of standard crude—have inched one step closer to a major victory.

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Report | National Wildlife Federation

Catching the Wind: State Actions Needed to Seize the Golden Opportunity of Atlantic Offshore Wind Power

More than 1.5 million acres off the Atlantic coast have been designated for offshore wind power development, enough to produce more than 16,000 megawatts of electricity and power more than five million homes, according to a new report from the National Wildlife Federation.

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News Release | Protect South Portland

Tar Sands Ordinance Passes on Initial Vote

The South Portland City Council voted 6-1 tonight to pass the Clear Skies Ordinance, a new, narrow ordinance that will protect the city from tar sands.

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Headline

South Portland council backs tar sands ban

A proposed ordinance to keep the oil from entering the city passes its first hurdle in a 6-1 vote after 500 people pack a meeting to listen to the debate.
 

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Headline

South Portland tar sands ban: 1 vote down, 2 to go

An ordinance that would prevent unrefined tar sands oil from being piped through the city passed the first of three hurdles in a special meeting Wednesday night.

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