Green moves affect Maine

Making good on her campaign promises to address energy and environmental issues in the US House of Representatives, freshman legislator Chellie Pingree announced yesterday that she is a founding member of the brand new Sustainable Energy and Environment Caucus in the House. Currently, the caucus comprises 38 members; it's major achievement thus far is sending a letter to House Leadership calling for more than $140 billion in renewable energy investments. 

What does this mean? Basically, the caucus is urging the House to include large chunks of green money in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act -- that thing that's supposed to help us out of this economic mess -- including:

  • $25 billion for clean energy research and development;
  • $25 billion for clean energy production;
  • $20 billion for energy efficiency (i.e. weatherization);
  • $7 billion for electric car battery production and procurement;
  • $250 for the Green Jobs Workforce Investment Fund;
  • $385 million for Department of Defense renewable energy efforts
  • $100 million for a pilot program to help convert US Postal Service vehicles to plug-in, energy efficient vehicles. 

The letter suggests that such investments could create more than two million jobs, a hypothesis supported by a report released late last year. Pingree's press release says that green-energy investment could bring 9000 jobs to Maine over the course of two years. Starting in 2010, Pingree will serve as a vice-chair of the caucus.

In related news Governor John Baldacci released a statement on Monday praising one of President Obama's first energy-policy moves. On Monday, Obama urged the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency to adopt higher fuel economy standards. In the past, Maine has moved to do the same thing

"Maine has led the way in pursuing energy independence and a clean environment," the statement says. "We now have a partner in Washington, DC, who understands the need to promote clean, renewable energy. I am pleased that President Obama today outlined a clear vision for our national energy future and will support flexibility for states in regards to environmental policy." (Emphasis added.)

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