In 2010, I contracted a serious case of chronic Lyme disease that plagued me and my family for many years. It destroyed my body, mind and life for several years, caused a heavy financial burden for us and put our family, especially my husband, through tremendous stress.

I was proud to speak at a recent press conference in Augusta about the exploding tick population here in Maine and the continued spike in Lyme diseases cases statewide. In 2005, only 245 cases of Lyme were reported in Maine. In 2014, there were 1,399. With longer, wetter summers and shorter, warmer winters because of climate change, deer ticks, which carry the bacteria that causes Lyme, are able to complete their lifecycles farther north in Maine each year. That means that all of Maine will soon be plagued by Lyme disease, not just the south and coast where most cases are reported today.

This is a pending disaster of epic proportions.

Climate change is increasing our risk of exposure to deer ticks and Lyme disease. We must act to reduce carbon pollution in order to protect public health and control climate change-fueled diseases such as Lyme disease.

That’s why I support the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, which sets the first federal limits on carbon pollution from domestic power plants. The EPA estimates that it will lead to climate and health benefits worth up to $93 billion per year by 2030. I urge Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King to support the Clean Power Plan in Washington. Maine has everything to gain and nothing to lose.

Cheryl Farley