Your July 17 editorial, “Our View: ‘Extreme heat’ on tap for Maine summers,” was a well-stated and timely reminder that the high heat and humidity we recently experienced is an uncomfortable harbinger of summers to come in Maine.

However, your final sentence, “Voters, it’s time to choose which future you want” is off the mark, because the next election, November 2020, may be too late to get important work done in Congress.

Fortunately, there is already a bill before Congress, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (H.R. 763), prepared by a bipartisan team, with many features acceptable to both sides of the current political divide on climate change.

It is, for instance, revenue neutral: It will not expand the size of government even though it will impose a rising price on carbon fuels. It will be effective in reducing our carbon dioxide emissions to levels that the Maine Legislature has voted as necessary. The “carbon dividend” (sent to every household as a monthly Climate Security Check) will be good for people in matching higher costs for fuel, especially the 65% with lower and middle incomes. Reduced emissions will be better for everyone’s health. And many new jobs (energy innovation, of course, and many others) will be created. Furthermore, 5,554 U.S. economists have stated their support for the policy.

So far H.R. 763 is being considered in House committees. It is endorsed by Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree.; thanks to her for cosponsoring this vitally important bill. But it has yet to be introduced in the Senate. This newspaper’s endorsement of the act would be welcome. And all voters, please contact Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and Rep. Jared Golden and urge them to take necessary action — before November 2020.

 

Peter Garrett of Winslow is coordinator for the Citizens Climate Lobby in Maine.


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