Meanwhile, Maine is several steps ahead of the federal government when it comes to combating climate change: Today, the state will become the first in the nation to enact a law establishing specific goals and deadlines for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Other New England states have addressed carbon dioxide emissions through different means — such as executive orders, action plans, and a region-wide emissions-control agreement — but the Maine initiative marks the first binding legislation enacted by a state. By passing it, the state has committed itself to developing ways to reduce CO2 emissions to 1990 levels by 2010, to 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, and eventually to as much as 80 percent below those levels. All four of Maine’s congressional representatives support national climate change legislation, and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R) expressed the hope that the Maine law would set an example for the federal government.
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