CONCORD, N.H. — Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King joined colleagues from across the Northeast in a move to create new regional greenhouse gas reduction programs and expand existing efforts.

Led by Sen. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat from New Hampshire, the group has introduced bipartisan legislation to support and expand programs such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which includes the six New England states plus Delaware, Maryland and New York.

The bill would create an office within the Environmental Protection Agency for such programs to provide analysis and technical assistance and would provide grants to states and local governments looking to join programs. The effort would use market-based tools to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector.

The bill is co-sponsored by Collins and King; New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen; New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand; Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy; Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey; and both senators from Connecticut and Delaware.

“There is no doubt that climate change poses a significant threat to our economy and our natural resources, including Maine’s forestry, fishing, agricultural, tourism, and recreation industries,” said Collins in a written statement.

“Maine’s power needs are different than New Mexico’s, so it’s only makes sense that we would use varied, customized approaches to achieve the same goal,” King said in the statement. “That’s where regional-specific programs come in: by working with neighboring states that share energy opportunities and challenges, we can improve collaboration and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These programs have already made a major impact in New England; let’s give them added support so they can do more good work in the fight against climate change.”

 

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