Several weeks ago the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing on the Environmental Protection Agency Clean Power Plan, which sets the first federal limits on unrestricted carbon pollution from existing power plants. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is calling on states to give polluters a pass, rather than protecting public health. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey testified, telling the panel that the Clean Power Plan would cost coal-producing states coal jobs and coal money. With coal jobs going extinct on their own, the EPA makes a convenient scapegoat for polluter allies like McConnell. But the benefits of acting on climate far outweigh the costs, with thousands of prevented premature deaths and almost $97 billion in climate and health benefits every year. The American Lung Association, the American Public Health Association and American Academy of Pediatrics have all endorsed the Clean Power Plan. Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. Angus King are advocates for Maine’s environment, but it is time to take national action.
The Clean Power Plan gives states an opportunity to take control of their futures, while turning the tide on climate change and protecting public health. It’s the kind of win-win most politicians dream of, and if climate deniers aren’t smart enough to seize the opportunity, plenty of others looking to protect their communities and their futures will step up and take the lead. Collins and King have been leaders on climate change in Washington. I urge them to support the Clean Power Plan.
Brigitte L. Kingsbury, president
Maine Conservation Alliance