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Letter to the Editor by Chase Empsall

Senator Collins rising to the occasion on climate change

Like many young voters across the Pine Tree State, I’m looking forward to continued leadership on the environment by Maine’s congressional leaders. Our delegation — and Senator Collins in particular — has worked concretely to tackle our nation’s growing environmental and climate problems, all while protecting the economic engine that powers our state. 

Senator Collins’ work to hold foreign countries to the same “super-pollutant” standards of Maine and the U.S. would deliver a win for the planet and level the playing field for our own manufacturers, adding tens of thousands of jobs right here at home. Meanwhile, her efforts to fund the Climate Ready Coasts initiative mark a historic $1.4 billion investment in the future of our country’s coastline — developing protective infrastructure, safeguarding ecosystems, and strengthening a coastal economy that produces over $340,000 and $37 billion in GDP in just Maine alone. From research funding for the Gulf of Maine Research Institute to millions for salt marsh restoration in the Down East region, the projects funded by the initiative will make a world of difference.

While much has been accomplished — and these developments should be applauded and highlighted — there is more work to be done to meet the climate challenge.

To tackle the scale and speed of the problem, we should harness the full innovative powers of the American economy. In short, U.S. manufacturers are almost always significantly cleaner than our key trading partners, having long pushed the envelope when it comes to new, more carbon-efficient technologies. For example, our businesses emit 3.2 times less carbon pollution than China, and almost 4 times less than India. 

A market-based solution would offer a powerful and wide-cast innovation incentive that can expand these efforts, particularly when paired with a border adjustment that accounts for the pollution embedded in imports. This is because the approach would level the playing field for businesses in Maine that are already operating much cleaner than the rest of the world but are currently undercut by cheaper, dirtier goods coming from overseas. In short, it would create a greater demand for our own products — creating meaningful jobs and economic stimulus in return for work we’re already doing — encourage our industries to continue innovating to maintain their competitive edge and help make sure other countries do their part to protect the planet.

With decades of life ahead, I care deeply about the climate challenge and am grateful to Senator Collins for being a champion of smart policies. It is truly meaningful that she has demonstrated it is possible to offer solutions that resonate with voters, make a real difference and do not compromise on conservative values. I look forward to seeing her continue to lead on climate solutions that safeguard our environment while also strengthening the economy.

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