Maine’s natural resources are a cornerstone of our heritage and of our economy.
Protecting these precious resources is not some partisan rallying cry, it’s a responsibility that all of us share.
Good morning, I am Governor Janet Mills. Thank you for listening.
You know the movement towards a clean environment was led in Maine by Republicans like Harry Richardson, Sherry Huber, Joe Sewall and nationally by Senator Bill Cohen, and Maine Democrats like Ted Kofman, Linda McKee, Ed Muskie and George Mitchell on the national stage.
Maine people have always led the way in the pursuit of clean air, clean water and uncontaminated soils.
So earlier this week our nation and our state celebrated Earth Day. We recommitted ourselves to that noble goal with more urgency than ever before as climate change takes its toll on our state and our country every day.
You know we do not need another study or report to tell us what we already know: that our climate is changing; that it is changing rapidly; that it will have profound implications for us and for future generations; and that there is limited time to address it.
We know this because, here in Maine, we are witnessing changes firsthand.
In the not too distant future, our children and grandchildren could live in a Maine we would not recognize.
Hey, I mean why care about ticks invading our woods and our public parks? Why care about kids with high asthma rates? Why care about lobsters off the coast moving north and diminished fisheries in cod and shellfish and herring and about rising sea levels?
Why care that Maine is the most heating oil dependent state in the country, with nearly 70 percent of homeowners relying on oil for their heating needs?
Why care that we send five billion dollars out of state every year to pay for our use of fossil fuels?
Because it is Maine and we value clean water and clean air. We value public health and the strength of our economy.
That is why my Administration is committed to serious climate change prevention and mitigation.
I know Maine can become a leader in clean energy. I have set a goal for our state to reach 80 percent of electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050.
In the past three months we have begun to make progress.
We have lifted the blanket ban on wind power.
We signed a bill to restore net metering for solar installations.
We announced new incentives for the use of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels for transportation.
We set a goal of 100,000 new heat pumps to reduce our fossil fuel consumption for heating needs.
And, next week we will officially introduce legislation to create the Maine State Climate Council.
This Council will be responsible for developing the action plan and timetable to meet the state’s emission reduction goals, to promote jobs and economic benefits for Maine people in transitioning to a lower carbon economy, and to support climate resilience in Maine’s communities.
Combating climate change and moving Maine toward a clean energy future won’t be easy.
But, to paraphrase President John F. Kennedy, we choose to take on these issues, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. Because they are necessary and because our future depends on it.
We’ll make progress, but let’s create together a forward-looking Maine that ensures we adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
Let us create an economy built for every Mainer that thrives on the creation of clean energy jobs long into the future.
Let us ensure that our children and grandchildren will enjoy, as we do, Maine’s unsurpassed bounty and beauty.
That is how we truly lead.
I am Janet Mills, Governor of the great State of Maine and I thank you for listening.