Record Support for New Carbon Standards in Maine

For Immediate Release: August 14, 2012

The Natural Resources Council of Maine and Environment Maine today announced that 16,615 Maine people were part of an unprecedented three million U.S. citizens who contacted the U.S. EPA in support of national standards to limit dangerous industrial carbon pollution from new power plants. 

This overwhelming level of support demonstrates Americans’ strong desire for national leadership to address climate change and its impact on public health, the economy, and our environment. A broad coalition of Maine groups supported this essential clean air safeguard including Environment Maine, Maine Council of Churches, Maine Interfaith Power & Light, Maine League of Women Voters, Maine League of Young Voters, Natural Resources Council of Maine, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Sierra Club Maine, and others.

“In a remarkable and record-setting show of support, three million citizens nationally – and more than 16,600 in Maine – weighed in to support cleaning up dangerous carbon pollution to protect our health, environment, and economy,” said Lisa Pohlmann, Executive Director of the Natural Resources Council of Maine. “This outpouring of support from across the nation and the state is a wakeup call for policy makers to act on Americans’ plea to curb air pollution and climate change.”

“We applaud the EPA for taking action against dangerous industrial carbon pollution, which poses a wide range of health threats to our families, our communities, as well as to wildlife and Maine’s outdoor heritage because of the impacts of climate change,” said Emily Figdor, Director of Environment Maine. “This summer’s devastating extreme weather events and deadly record-setting heat waves preview just how damaging and costly rising temperatures will be.”

“Maine ranked sixth in the nation for the number of comments submitted to the EPA per capita,” said Pohlmann. “We believe that reflects how important clean, healthy air and curbing climate change are to Maine people and our state. Maine has nothing to lose and everything to gain from pollution standards for out-of-state coal power plants.”

“We’ve had enough of polluters protecting their fat profits at the expense of public health,” said Figdor. “They may not be ready to clean up, but the American public is. When it comes to addressing climate change and its impact on our health, the public is clamoring for leadership, now.”

Doctors, scientists, and other experts agree that carbon pollution threatens our health by fueling climate change. Climate change increases the formation of lung-damaging and asthma attack-inducing smog, which is particularly dangerous for kids and seniors.  Climate change also fuels more frequent deadly heat waves, damaging storms and floods, cases of insect-borne diseases like Lyme disease, and other extreme weather events like those we’re seeing across the country this year. 

This strong expression of support for EPA’s Carbon Pollution Standard comes at a time when scientists are reporting direct links between human-induced climate change and the extreme weather events and rising temperatures experienced around the globe. (Including as reported in the New York Times last week: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/09/science/earth/july-was-hottest-month-ever-recorded-in-us.html?_r=1&ref=globalwarming.) Environment Maine released a report on July 31 that documents this increase in frequency and intensity for extreme precipitation events. Over the last 60 years, extreme rain events have increased 74% in Maine. Read the full report at http://www.environmentmaine.org.