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Mills Cosigns Governors' Letter Supporting Green Investment In Congressional Spending Bills

In this March 12, 2020 file photo, Maine Gov. Janet Mills speaks at a news conference at the State House in Augusta, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty
In this March 12, 2020 file photo, Maine Gov. Janet Mills speaks at a news conference at the State House in Augusta, Maine.

Maine Gov. Janet Mills is joining her counterparts from nine other states to urge congressional leaders to prioritize climate-change projects in the big spending bills under consideration on Capitol Hill.

Mills and other Democratic governors from California to Connecticut sent the letter this week to put the spotlight on green investments in two infrastructure packages making their way through Congress.

"The importance of Washington finally engaging and engaging with more than, 'Yeah we care, we know it's urgent,' but actual funding and policy is a big deal. So I think what happens in the next couple of months is crucial," says Hannah Pingree, Mills' top climate advisor.

Pingree says the bipartisan infrastructure package that recently passed the Senate and another budget reconciliation bill both contain climate-change elements that need to be approved.

Those include new tax credits aimed at decarbonizing regional electricity grids and transportation systems, consumer rebates for electrifying and weatherizing homes and investments in climate resilience.

"And resilience is really about preparing for the kinds of rain events that we just saw in New York and New Jersey, the kinds of storm events that Maine sees on a regular basis, sea-level rise — this is a fairly urgent priority for coastal states. And Maine is starting to take good steps but significant funding for infrastructure is absolutely needed," Pingree says.

The governors' letter also asks for an assurance that 40% of the green funding goes to disadvantaged communities, rural areas and other stakeholders who could face cost increases with a transition away from fossil fuels.

Copyright 2021 Maine Public

A Columbia University graduate, Fred began his journalism career as a print reporter in Vermont, then came to Maine Public in 2001 as its political reporter, as well as serving as a host for a variety of Maine Public Radio and Maine Public Television programs. Fred later went on to become news director for New England Public Radio in Western Massachusetts and worked as a freelancer for National Public Radio and a number of regional public radio stations, including WBUR in Boston and NHPR in New Hampshire.