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MYA Sues Maine

By Cole Cochrane

 

Our organization has tirelessly advocated to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Maine since its establishment in 2022. Inspired by the work done by our co-founders within the fossil fuel divestment movement, we have drummed up youth support and built ambitious coalitions for various initiatives. Throughout our calls for change, a foundational goal has been to decarbonize Maine’s transportation sector. It is the largest source of emissions, and coupled with the fact that 78 percent of Mainers use individual cars for commutes, it makes it a forefront priority. 


As such, MYA has advocated alongside hundreds of environmental groups and activists for the Maine Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) to adopt the ACT and ACC II rules. This would have required a majority of vehicles to be clean and electric by 2030. Given the overwhelming use of cars in Maine for commuting, it is necessary to adopt these rules to be consistent with our emission reduction targets. This movement has spanned over many months with hundreds of folks across the state pressuring BEP to make the right choice and adopt the rules. Yet, despite the many activists and environmental groups that came out in support, the BEP voted down the rules in a 4-2 vote. Their decision was not only disappointing and flawed, but we strongly believe in violation of Maine’s 2019 Climate Law.


The state is legally required to reduce emissions by 45% by 2030, as well as 80% by 2050, which is commonly referred to as the Climate Law. The BEP and DEP have done very little over the past 5 years since the Climate Law was enacted to ensure the state is on that path. Environmental activists championed this Climate Law for these very kinds of circumstances, so it would be remiss of us not to challenge the administration. Therefore, Maine Youth Action, alongside the Conservation Law Foundation and Sierra Club ME, is suing the state for its failure to comply with the state’s 2019 Climate Law. We know this is a major decision and will take a lot of time and effort from our organizations collectively. However, we are not fully confident there are other feasible avenues for advocacy and it is evidently clear that we must hold the state accountable to what they signed into law. MYA will need all the support we can get while we fight the good fight, so stay tuned for more updates. 

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