Seth's LD 1824 protected our health and wood heat -- winning him Maine Lung's 2007 Healthy Air Award
Survival of the Fittest... Locally and Globally
Clean energy is now a matter of survival -- and here, Maine has a competitive edge.
By jumpstarting renewables and cutting back on waste, we can position ourselves as exporters of clean, responsible energy.
I am proud to have sponsored legislation in 2009 that helped to reshape Maine's approach to efficiency
and renewables. Working with Speaker Hannah Pingree and Majority Leader Phil Bartlett, for instance, I was able to help
create the new Efficiency Maine Trust, which brings together Maine's renewable energy rebate, efficiency, and conservation programs. Among
other provisions, this law establishes the twenty-year goal of weatherizing all residences and 50 percent of businesses,
and reducing Maine's consumption of fossil fuels by at least 30 percent.
In addition in 2009, I sponsored
first-in-the-nation legislation to address the fastest-growing source of toxic mercury in our environment, by making manufacturers
responsible for financing a simple recycling system for compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). I also sponsored legislation
to create what MOFGA considers the most comprehensive pesticide notification system in the U.S., to ensure that neighbors know when toxic pesticides
will be sprayed near their homes, yards, and playgrounds.
Maine´s competitive advantages are its people,
and its environment. We must protect our people´s health and safety, as well as the extraordinary natural resources
we enjoy and count on for life and livelihood.
Seth (left) questions members of Parliament on carbon dioxide cap-and-trade in the U.K.
Energy solutions to save
and renewable savings available now
GoMaine can save the average Maine
commuter thousands per year. A statewide carpool-find system, as well as expanding public transit options, are
available at www.gomaine.org.
Amtrak's Downeaster will expand service
to Brunswick by 2012. Track work is already underway. From Brunswick, connections to Rockland and eventually
to Augusta, Bangor and Lewiston are also possible.
Weatherization help is available
to most Mainers for home insulation, window replacement, and other measures that can save you thousands more
than the cost of the loan payments.
more information on this and other programs, visit www.mainehousing.org or call 1-800-452-4668.
Efficiency Maine can help you cut your home or business
energy bills and consumption by 1/3 or more, finance a small solar or wind array, AND get major rebates and deep discounts
for doing so.For more details, visit www.efficiencymaine.com.
Not all biofuels are created equal. In their creation and
tranportation, we now understand that many biofuels may create as many problems as they solve. Enter UMaine's research
team: and a new, cutting-edge investigation into the potential to create sustainable, green biofuel using Maine's
forest waste left over from the pulp and paper harvest.
Using a new, $10.35 million federal and state grant, UMaine may
well be leading us toward the future envisioned in a report by the Governor´s Office of Energy Independence and Security.
This report came out of a bill introduced in 2007 by Rep. Hannah Pingree, which Seth helped revise to win unanimous committee
approval. The report, authored by UVM student Rebecca Rockefeller, shows a clear path forward for Maine
in the promising but tricky area of biofuel.
In Seth's first year on the Utilities and Energy Committee
-- and thanks to the joint efforts of many -- Maine joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Based on Europe's
successful carbon cap-and-trade system, RGGI will limit the carbon emissions of power plants producing over 25 megawatts.
Emissions will level off from 2009 to 2014, and then decline to 10% below 2009 levels by 2018.
This collaborative effort of ten northeastern states will cut
our greenhouse gas emissions, while also creating a new market in carbon offsets, a new source of jobs, and new
funding for efficiency measures to decrease energy costs. Because some companies may require carbon offsets as part
of their energy portfolio, an impetus is also likely for sustainable forestry.
Maine is a statewide effort to promote the more efficient use of energy, help Maine residents and businesses reduce energy
costs, and improve Maine's environment. While it was once restricted to the pursuit of electrical savings, it now
gives Maine residents and businesses a one-stop shop to save money and strengthen our economy.
I am proud to have helped strengthen
Efficiency Maine in 2009, as the sponsor of one of the bills which were eventually merged to move Maine forward and to fund
and guide these efforts.
the graph above demonstrates, energy prices are about three times higher than the cost of efficiency measures such as insulation,
efficient lighting, etc. For this reason, it is generally cheapest and most effective to begin with conservation
measures before adding renewable energy production. As Amory Lovins might say, a newly installed "negawatt"
(unused megawatt) is both cheaper and cleaner than a newly installed megawatt.
Seth's LD 1824 protected our health AND wood heat
by ensuring that future wood boilers will be more efficient and less polluting -- winning him Maine Lung Association's 2007
Healthy Air Award. Click on photo above for national radio story on this legislation (NPR Living on Earth segment).
Mars Hill wind facility, February 2008 (Nancy Smith photo)
Seth is one of several legislators who worked
to pass strong new wind incentives, including a statutory goal of 3,000 megawatts of new wind in Maine by 2020.
This number represents three times the capacity of ME Yankee. Even with this increase, and related increases in tidal,
cogeneration, and other renewables, conservation and reduced consumption will also remain critical to improving our energy
security and independence.