The federal Environmental Protection Agency recently proposed, for the first time in history, limits on the amount of carbon dioxide power plants can emit in to the air. Our nation’s power plants are the single largest source of carbon dioxide and despite safeguards against mercury, arsenic, soot and other dangerous pollutants, there have been no limits on the dumping of carbon pollution — until now.

Benefits to this ruling include reversing the effects of climate change and improving air quality and clarity that will benefit the health of people and the environment.

The new federal standards are modeled after the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in which Maine and eight other Northeast states already participate. Maine and the region have demonstrated national leadership through RGGI, which caps the amount of carbon pollution and sells emission allowances, investing proceeds in energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. These programs are spurring innovation in the clean energy economy and creating jobs.

Maine has generated $257 million in energy cost savings since 2009. The EPA’s carbon pollution plan would reward Maine’s leadership with RGGI by accepting it as a suitable mechanism to meet the proposed carbon standards.

I thank both Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King for their support of the EPA carbon emission limits for existing power plants. Although the EPA has full authority to adopt new carbon limits under the Clean Air Act, the U.S. Senate can repeal them, which makes support from Collins and King critical. I urge them both to ensure these rules are enacted.

Liz Hays

Mount Vernon

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