March 26, 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) voted against the Green New Deal resolution before the Senate. In his full statement, which can be read below, King emphasized that while he opposes the contents of the resolution, he strongly agrees with the need for “decisive action.” Also in his statement, Senator King expressed his frustration with to the circumstances surrounding today’s vote, which he described as “a cynical act of political theater.” Senator King’s full statement can be read below:
“The stakes could not be higher in dealing with the urgent crisis posed by climate change; the United States needs to take concrete action and protect our future. As anyone in Maine will tell you: it is clear that climate change is real, its threats are serious, and its impacts are already being felt across our state. If you need an example of the dangers of climate change, you need look no further than the Gulf of Maine, which is warming faster than 99% of the world’s oceans. This rapid increase will dramatically alter ecosystems, cause major damage to local economies, and fundamentally reshape life along Maine’s coast.
“I agree with proponents of the Green New Deal that we need decisive action and ambitious goals to protect our planet for future generations. In terms of desire to see real, impactful measures to address climate change, I’m second-to-none, which is why throughout my time in Congress I’ve introduced and cosponsored legislation to increase energy efficiency, promote renewable resources, and help more clean and efficient energy resources supply power to the grid. But at the same time, I believe that the best way to fully address this challenge is to set realistic goals. As someone who has spent a significant amount of his life working in renewable energy and is well-versed in the technology, I am concerned that the overly aggressive goals in the resolution I voted against today are unrealistic and far too broad.
“I want to emphasize that my skepticism surrounding the current resolution should not be misconstrued as being uninterested in pursuing the most ambitious and realistic action on climate change; I simply differ with the most effective way to accomplish that goal. From my perspective, I believe that the most impactful way to confront this challenge is to create realistic time frames for energy transitions, increase energy efficiency (because the cheapest and cleanest kilowatt hour is the one that we don’t use), implement an improved permitting process, and increase investments in green energy – including research and development – to create price parity with carbon sources. These steps will help not only our environment, but also our economy; by investing in our natural resources, we can make steps toward creating new opportunities for the next generation of workers and reduce our dependence on imported fuels that suck too many dollars out of the Maine economy.
“Finally, I must add that I am frustrated and dispirited that the Senate Majority Leader’s first vote on climate change mitigation isn’t a serious attempt to solve the problem facing our future generations, but rather a cynical act of political theater that did not include hearings or an amendment process to provide the opportunity to improve this flawed resolution. If Congress chooses to play political games with this issue instead of pursuing serious action, we will have abandoned our most important responsibility: the responsibility to leave the next generation a better world than the one we received. So let’s get serious. I stand ready to work with any of my colleagues to set clear, aggressive, and achievable goals and establish concrete steps we can take to address the crisis facing our nation and our world.”
A forceful advocate for clean energy solutions, Senator King is the lead sponsor on clean and efficient energy bills such as the Next Generation Grid Resources and Infrastructure Development (GRID) Act that would encourage energy independence, foster innovation, and leverage federal resources to support a more resilient and modern electric grid through the use of distributed and clean energy resources. He is also the lead sponsor of the Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Support Act, legislation that would support businesses investing in energy efficiency technology, help diversify energy options for rural industries, and maximize use of Maine’s natural resources. Senator King introduced this bill in November 2017, after holding an ENR Committee field hearing at Robbins Lumber in Searsmont to identify opportunities to use new energy efficient technologies to sustain and strengthen rural industries. Senator King is also the lead sponsor for the Biomass Thermal Utilization (BTU) Act, a bipartisan bill that would incentivize the use of energy efficiency biomass heaters in homes and businesses instead of relying on fossil fuel energy. He has also a cosponsored the Energy Storage Tax Incentive and Deployment Act, bipartisan legislation which would establish an investment tax credit (ITC) for business and home use of energy storage.