What’s happening in Washington

The president put someone in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency who has sued that same agency 14 times to weaken clean air, clean water and other environmental protections.

He signed an executive order to put the Keystone XL pipeline on a fast track to construction, another order designed to eliminate Clean Water Act protections for nearly 2 million miles of America’s streams, including 24,832 miles in Maine, and a third order rolling back the Clean Power Plan, effectively allowing power plants to emit more pollution and adding more soot to the air we breathe and more climate-destabilizing carbon pollution to the planet’s atmosphere.

Meanwhile, Congress has passed legislation abolishing new stream water protections from coal mining in Appalachia, voted to make it easier to sell off public lands, and introduced bills to abolish the EPA.

After talking during the campaign about “abolishing” the EPA himself or “leaving just a little bit,” the president proposed a budget that would slash EPA funding by 31 percent. These cuts would virtually eliminate funding for proven programs needed to clean up the nation’s great waterways, from San Francisco Bay to Puget Sound; decimate environmental research and science programs, and effectively take the nation’s environmental cops off the polluter beat.

A “little bit” of environmental protection is not nearly enough—not when it comes to the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the people and places we love. 

Most Americans want more, not fewer, protections for the people and places we love

These moves to dismantle our environmental protections violate core values shared by millions of Americans.

The vast majority of us believe the health of our children is more valuable than the dollars saved when a company dumps pollution into our air or water. The future of our children and life on our planet makes the investment in clean, renewable energy a no-brainer for everybody, save perhaps the executives of a few outdated fossil fuel companies. The idea that we’ve found some places so special, some would even say sacred, that we’ve declared them off-limits to development is one of our proudest achievements.

But our environmental values are meaningless if we don’t act on them, and stand up and defend them when they’re under attack— especially given the power of old but entrenched industries that are wed to a status quo that no longer serves our needs, and a worldview that puts their short-term economic interests above the health of the American people and the environment we share.

Our path forward

Our best chance of stopping these attacks will come in the U.S. Senate, where 41 votes will be enough to block most legislation.

Environment Maine, together with our nationwide network of state affiliates, is urging our senators to stand up and protect our health and the places we love.

And if enough of us speak up, we can win.

Recently, Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah filed a bill that would sell off 3.3 million acres of America’s public lands — an area the size of Connecticut. Several days later he withdrew the bill in the face of overwhelming public opposition, including 1,000 people in Montana turning out to a pro-public lands rally and this comment from an National Rifle Association member on Chaffetz’s Facebook page: “Rescind H.R. 621 the sale of public lands! It’s not your land to sell. It’s the people’s land. Many people use it for many purposes.” Hear and respect our voice.”

We can win, but only if we bring together people from all walks of life, from both sides of the political divide, and unite in action to defend the places we love.

Reckless proposals to roll back clean air, clean water and other environmental protections keep coming every week. We need to build support now to protect our health and environment.

Now, it's up to us

The leaders and activists of the past saw the result of decades of unchecked pollution in our smog-covered skylines and our toxic rivers. They worked against all odds and, ultimately, their values won the day. Our environmental forbears organized the first Earth Day, supported and passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act, and created the Environmental Protection Agency. Now the torch passes to us.

The children we know and love today can live cleaner, healthier lives in a greener world, but only if we can keep our environmental protections in place and make them stronger. It’s up to us.

Issue updates

Blog Post

Environment Maine Testimony in Support of LD 1679 ‘An Act To Promote Clean Energy Jobs and To Establish the Maine Climate Council’ | Carissa Maurin

Govenor Janet Mills' and Senator David Woodsome's bill LD 1679 ‘An Act To Promote Clean Energy Jobs and To Establish the Maine Climate Council’ would establish the Maine Climate Change Council to assist Maine to mitigate, prepare for and adapt to climate change, provides that by January 1, 2030 80 percent of electricity consumed in the State must come from renewable resources and by January 1, 2050 100 percent of electricity consumed in the State must come from renewable resources, and updated the greenhouse gas emissions reductions required in statute to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 and 45 percent by 2030.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Maine

Statement on Gov. Janet Mills’ Maine Climate Council Bill

Maine is setting a great example for the rest of the country, with Republicans and Democrats working together to thwart climate change, a threat that doesn’t discriminate against any political affiliation. Today, the Maine state legislature heard Gov. Janet Mills’ climate action bill, L.D. 1679, sponsored by state Sen. David Woodsome (R-York). If adopted, this bipartisan bill sets targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 and 45 percent by 2030. It also sets goal of requiring that 80 percent of the electricity sold in Maine come from renewable energy by 2030, with a longer term target of 100 percent by 2050.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Maine/Natural Resources Council of Maine

Bipartisan Bill Would Accelerate Investment In Solar Energy Across Maine

For the last five years Maine has ranked last in New England for solar energy generation and number of solar jobs per capita. A new bipartisan bill that received a public hearing today aims to reverse that trend by accelerating the development of more than 400 megawatts of solar power to serve residents, businesses, and towns across the state.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post

Environment Maine Testimony in Support of LD 1711 ‘An Act To Promote Solar Energy Projects and Distributed Generation Resources in Maine’ | Carissa Maurin

LD 1711 would lift the community solar cap from the current arbitrary limit of 9 to allow up to 200 participants under net metering, with no limit on participants for community solar farms under a competitive process. This bill aims to increase access to community solar, by instating specific targets and policies to assist low- and moderate- income families. It will also use competitive markets to capture low-cost solar, and build on the innovative, bipartisan policy ideas developed in recent years between Maine consumer advocates, solar businesses, and others resulting in at least three hundred megawatts of medium-scale (up to 5 MW) solar installations for communities, municipalities, and businesses.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment America

65 groups call for legislation to phase out PFAS in the military within three years

Environment America submitted a letter to the Senate and House Armed Services Committees today, calling on Congress to pass legislation to phase out military firefighting foams that contain toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) within three years. Sixty-five environmental, veterans and community groups signed on to the letter. “Families from Michigan to West Virginia are drinking poisoned water because nearby military bases keep using these toxic chemicals,” says Bart Johnsen-Harris, clean water advocate with Environment America. “We need to leverage our military’s resources, ingenuity and grit to complete this transition away from PFAS quickly. This is a fight not just to preserve our drinking water, but to protect American lives.”

> Keep Reading

Pages

View AllRSS Feed