Governor Mills is the first governor from a non-founding member state – which include California, New York, and Washington – to lead the Alliance
Governor also names new appointments to the Maine Climate Council charged with updating Maine’s climate action plan
Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of 25 governors committed to fighting climate change, has elected Governor Janet Mills to serve as its Co-Chair.
Governor Mills and Washington Governor Jay Inslee were elected Co-Chairs by the Alliance’s members, who convened this week in Washington, D.C. for the coalition’s semiannual spring meeting. Governor Mills is the first governor from outside of a founding member state – which include California, New York, and Washington – to lead the Alliance.
The U.S. Climate Alliance is a coalition of governors committed to fighting climate change by reducing carbon emissions, advancing clean energy, and protecting people and the environment from the effects of the climate crisis. As Co-Chairs, Governor Mills and Governor Inslee will help direct the Alliance’s efforts on behalf of its member states and territories, which represent more than half of the U.S. population and 60 percent of the national economy.
They also join California Governor Gavin Newsom, New York Governor Kathy Hochul, and New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham on the Alliance’s Executive Committee, which is charged with overseeing the strategic direction of the coalition. Members will serve in these roles until the Alliance’s semiannual meeting next spring.
“Shortly after being elected Governor, I declared that ‘Maine Won’t Wait’ to address climate change. Over the past four years, we have made significant progress in embracing clean energy, transitioning to climate-friendly technologies that strengthen our economy, and making our state and our people more resilient to the impacts of climate change,” said Governor Janet Mills. “My election as co-chair is a recognition of Maine as a national leader in fighting climate change and a tribute to the great work done by people across Maine. I am proud to take our hard work and ideas and share them with the Alliance as we continue to take action to address climate change.”
“For nearly six years, our founding state members have led our coalition with great purpose and determination,” said Casey Katims, Executive Director, U.S. Climate Alliance. “We’re thrilled to expand our leadership with Governor Mills to help us chart our next chapter.”
Today’s announcement comes as the Alliance continues to grow and diversify its membership. This year, the coalition has welcomed six new governors, including Governors Maura Healey of Massachusetts, Josh Green of Hawaiʻi, Tina Kotek of Oregon, Wes Moore of Maryland, and Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania, who continued their states’ membership in the Alliance, and Governor Lou Leon Guerrero, who made Guam the second U.S. territory to join the coalition.
Governor Mills today also announced appointments to the Maine Climate Council, an assembly of scientists, industry leaders, bipartisan local and state officials, and citizens charged with developing and updating a comprehensive climate action plan for Maine.
Following an extensive public process, the Council delivered its first four-year plan to prepare for and mitigate effects of climate change on Maine, Maine Won’t Wait, to Governor Mills on December 1, 2020.
Later this year, the Council and its working groups will start work to update Maine Won’t Wait by December 1, 2024, as required by state law. This will be supported in part by a $3 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from the Inflation Reduction Act.
“The bold, actionable strategies included in Maine Won’t Wait are a blueprint for responsible climate actions by the State and communities and established Maine as a national leader in fighting climate change,” said Hannah Pingree and Melanie Loyzim, co-chairs of the Maine Climate Council. “As we prepare to update the state’s climate plan, we are excited for this Council to build upon our momentum to further reduce emissions, advance clean energy, and protect Maine’s infrastructure and environment for future generations.”
Since taking office in 2019, Governor Mills has prioritized action against climate change in Maine through reducing carbon emissions, transitioning to renewable energy, and making Maine communities more resilient to climate effects.
With bipartisan support of the Legislature, the state in 2019 enacted laws setting ambitious targets for transitioning to renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
These include reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Maine by 45 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050, and transitioning Maine’s electricity use to 80 percent renewable by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050.
With Maine experiencing high energy prices caused due to volatile global markets, Governor Mills earlier this year committed to accelerate Maine’s transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2040.
In 2019, Governor Mills also pledged Maine will become carbon-neutral by 2045, a commitment which she signed into law in 2022.
The governor in 2021 also announced a new State program, the Community Resilience Partnership, that was recommended by the climate plan to help Maine communities reduce emissions, transition to clean energy, and increase resilience to climate effects.
Since opening to enrollment in early 2022, 140 Maine cities, towns and Tribal governments have chosen to participate in the Partnership as individual entities or regional coalitions, and more than $3.7 million in grants have been awarded to 74 community projects across the state.
Governor Mills has also committed to more than doubling Maine’s clean energy jobs to 30,000 by 2030, and made several historic investments in climate priorities, thanks to Maine’s strong economic recovery and the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan. These investments include:
- $50 million for energy efficiency programs, such as residential weatherization and heat pumps and other efficiency upgrades for schools, towns, non-profits, and hospitality businesses.
- $20 million for municipal grants to protect infrastructure from flooding, rising sea levels, and extreme storms.
- $8 million for the Clean Energy Partnership, an initiative to grow the Maine’s clean energy workforce and innovation economy.
Through incentive programs supported by the Mills Administration in alignment with Maine Won’t Wait, Maine people have installed more than 82,000 high-efficiency heat pumps and weatherized more than 9,100 homes since 2019, in addition to registering more than 8,500 electric vehicles. For an updated guide on climate incentives now available for Maine residents and businesses, please visit mainewontwait.org.
On May 11 at the University of Maine in Orono, the Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future is convening its annual community climate conference. For agenda and speaker information, please contact Anthony.Ronzio@maine.gov.
For more information about Maine Climate Council, its members, and upcoming meetings, please visit its website. The members of the Maine Climate Council are:
- Hannah Pingree, Director of the Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future
- Melanie Loyzim, Commissioner, Department of Environmental Protection
Members of the State Legislature:
- Representative Christopher Kessler (D)
- Representative Nathan Carlow (R)
- Senator Stacy Brenner (D)
- Senator Matt Harrington (R)
Members of the Executive Branch:
- Amanda Beal, Commissioner, Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
- Judy Camuso, Commissioner, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
- Major General Doug Farnham, Commissioner, Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management
- Heather Johnson, Commissioner, Department of Economic and Community Development
- Bruce Van Note, Commissioner, Department of Transportation
- Patrick Keliher, Commissioner, Department of Marine Resources
- Dan Burgess, Director, Governor’s Energy Office
- Jeanne Lambrew, Commissioner, Department of Health and Human Services
- Kirsten Figueroa, Commissioner, Department of Administrative and Financial Services
- Laura Fortman, Commissioner, Department of Labor
- Pender Makin, Commissioner, Department of Education
Members of Quasi-Government Agencies:
- Dan Brennan, Executive Director of the Maine State Housing Authority
- Michael Stoddard, Executive Director of Efficiency Maine Trust
Members Representing Environmental Nonprofit Organizations or Foundations:
- Alexander Buck, President, Horizon Foundation
- Kate Dempsey, Maine State Director for The Nature Conservancy
Members with Expertise in Climate Change Science:
- Ivan Fernandez, Distinguished Professor at the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute & School of Forest Resources
- Susie Arnold, Senior Ocean Scientist, Island Institute
Members with Expertise in Resilience, Climate Change Adaptation, Emergency Management:
- Amy Landry, Executive Director of the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments
- Jay Kamm, Senior Planner, Northern Maine Development Commission
- Noël Bonam, Maine State Director for AARP
- Jessie Perkins, Executive Director of the Bethel Chamber of Commerce
- Expert on State’s Energy Sector: Ken Colburn
- Representative of Manufacturing Industry: Jim Brooks, Environmental Manager for Sappi North America
- Representative of Maine’s Tribes: Maulian Dana, Ambassador, Penobscot Nation
- Representative of Municipal Government: Gary Lamb, City Manager, City of Hallowell
- Representative of Small Business: Daniel Kleban, Owner of Maine Beer Company
- Representative of Large Business: Todd Bullen, Vice President of Retail Operations, Hannaford Supermarkets
- Representative of Agriculture: Melissa Law, Owner of Bumbleroot Organic Farm in Windham
- Representative of Building and Construction Trades: Matt Marks, Associated General Contractors of Maine
- Representative of Marine Fisheries: Bob Baines, Board Member, Maine Lobsterman’s Association
- Representative of Labor: Francis Eanes, Executive Director of the Maine Climate Labor Council
- Representative of Forest Industry: Patrick Strauch, Executive Director of the Maine Forest Products Council
- Representative of Maine Youth: Amara Ifeji, Maine Environmental Education Association