For many people, the first thing that comes to mind when they think of protecting lung health is preventing people from being exposed to second-hand smoke. However, there is another side to protecting lung health: reducing air pollution and promoting healthy air. Updating Maine’s approach to solar power would do both.

The Maine Legislature is considering a bill that would overhaul and modernize Maine’s solar policies. The result would be hundreds of new good-paying jobs and lower energy bills across the state. The bill would also create a framework for reducing air pollution and replacing it with clean, renewable solar energy. While it is true that much of Maine’s pollution comes from states that are downwind from us, we cannot ignore the air pollution that we create ourselves.

The American Lung Association fights for clean air and seeks to inform the public about air quality with their annual State of the Air reports. The higher the grade, the cleaner and safer the air is to breathe.

Updating Maine’s solar energy policy would contribute to higher air quality grades and have a positive impact on the health of our children and grandchildren. Maine has an aging population and one of the highest asthma rates in the country. That means higher health care costs and more people at risk due to poor air quality. Taking steps to reduce our own pollution with more solar power is a great step forward for public health.

The Legislature should pass L.D. 1649 for a cleaner, healthier future.

Lance Boucher

Director of Public Policy

American Lung Association in Maine

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