It’s been almost a year since a group of citizens – including almost 700 registered voters and approximately 370 youth – petitioned the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to adopt rules to reduce Maine’s greenhouse gas emissions to approximately 75 percent below 2003 levels by the year 2035.
The goal of the petition was and is for Maine to comply with a 2003 law which established a “long-term” goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the State “sufficient to eliminate any dangerous threat to the climate. To accomplish this goal, reduction to 75% to 80% below 2003 levels may be required.”.
The petition for rulemaking was filed with the DEP on January 24, 2018. A public hearing was held on May 15. The agency accepted additional comments through the end of July 2018. Following the close of the comment period, the DEP had 120 days to adopt new rules. That period has elapsed and the DEP has not adopted the proposed climate change rules or formally responded to the petition. Supporters of the petition now have 6 months to challenge the DEP’s failure to act in Superior Court.
Before pursuing legal action, however, Maine Climate Protectors will attempt to work cooperatively with Governor-elect Janet Mills and her new administration. Significantly, Governor-elect Mills campaigned on a promise “to reduce climate pollution 80 percent by 2030.”
Toward this end, Maine Climate Protectors will endeavor to work with the legislature to strengthen Maine’s existing climate change law and work with the new leadership at the DEP (once he or she is identified) to adopt rules that ensure that Maine reduces its greenhouse gas emissions on a scale sufficient to avert disastrous consequences of climate change.
We’ll post here again soon to keep you informed as our new strategy unfolds! We invite you to join us in efforts to hold Governor Mills accountable for her promise to reduce climate pollution 80 percent by 2030!