Gideon’s Real Climate Change Plan: Raise Taxes on Hardworking Mainers

Gideon Supports Gas Tax Hike That’ll Hurt Working Families, Farmers, & Seniors

Hypocrisy Alert: Gideon Also Has Long Track Record of Donations from Fossil Fuel Interests

Members of the press:

Sara Gideon released her “climate agenda” today.  Here’s what she’s not telling you.

  • Gideon’s climate change agenda includes a gas tax. Gideon supports a plan to hike taxes on gas, home heating oil, and other fuel products in Maine by roughly 40 cents a gallon.

  • Gideon has benefited heavily from fossil fuel interests, including oil pipeline companies and fossil fuel billionaires like Donald Sussman, Tom Steyer, and Michael Zilka.

  • Gideon doesn’t address how she’s going to pay for her plan.

Gideon’s devastating gas and heating oil tax would especially affect working families and seniors - the people who can least afford Gideon’s new tax.

The gas tax bill that Gideon supports, LD 434, “An Act to Price Carbon Pollution in Maine,” would have slapped a new fee on fuel distributors in Maine. It would have affected fuel products from gasoline to diesel to home heating oil. Gideon cosponsored and spoke at a press conference in support of the bill

The money taken from Mainers by Gideon's new tax would not have been used to fix and improve Maine’s crumbling infrastructure. Instead, it would have gone to a brand new fund administered by the Maine Public Utilities Commission and distributed to Central Maine Power and other utilities.

Gideon has taken donations from oil pipeline companies like Enbridge, raised money at the Houston mansion of fossil fuel billionaire Michael Zilka, and is benefiting from millions of dollars of political support from Donald Sussman and Tom Steyer, two billionaires who made their fortune in fossil fuels.

“Sara’s “plan” looks remarkably similar to Senator Collins’ record of accomplishment. The truth is, as Speaker, Gideon strongly supported a climate plan that would have forced hardworking Maine families and seniors to pay more for gas and more to heat their homes,” said Kevin Kelley, spokesman for Senator Collins’ campaign.

Senator Collins has a long record of fighting to protect our environment:

  • Ocean Acidification. Senator Collins joined as an original cosponsor of Senator Murkowski’s Coastal Communities Ocean Acidification Act. This legislation directs the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to conduct assessments that will help determine the risks that coastal communities face because of changing ocean chemistry. 

  • Wind Energy. Senator Collins is the leading advocate in the Senate for advancing innovative deepwater offshore wind technology, an emerging industry with the potential to create thousands of good jobs in Maine.  She has worked hard to engage the federal government in this exciting initiative and to help secure critical federal funding.  Maine has been at the forefront of deepwater floating turbine technology and Senator Collins is confident that Maine will be at the forefront of making deepwater offshore wind a hallmark of U.S. innovation.

    • Senator Collins joined Senator Markey as the lead Republican on the Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act, legislation that would create a grant program for offshore wind career training and education. 

    • Senator Collins joined Senator Tina Smith in introducing the Wind Energy Research and Development Act, which would renew and expand the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Wind Energy and award competitive grants to improve the energy efficiency, reliability and capacity of wind energy generation    

    • Senator Collins is the lead Republican cosponsor of Senator Carper’s Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act, which would create an Investment Tax Credit for the first 3,000 megawatts of offshore wind facilities placed into service.  It aims to help catalyze the first U.S. offshore wind projects.

  • Energy Storage. Senator Collins introduced the Better Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Act, legislation she introduced in May of 2019 with Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) to accelerate the development of next-generation energy storage.  The BEST Act would support energy storage research and development and improve the efficiency of the nation’s electric grid, while helping to align research efforts on energy storage technologies. Energy storage will encourage additional renewable energy on our nation's electric grid. 

  • Conservation. In March 2020, Senator Collins joined as an original cosponsor of the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), a bill that combines full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and the Restore Our Parks Act, which would address the nearly $12 billion maintenance backlog in national parks. The GAOA was signed into law on August 4, 2020. This bill is expected to create new, well-paying jobs in conservation. 

    • Senator Collins was a cosponsor of the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act.This bill, which permanently authorized LWCF and created the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Act, was enacted in 2019 with Senator Collins’ strong support. 

  • Biomass.  Senators Collins and King joined a bipartisan group in introducing the RFS Biomass Definition Act, a bill that would allow the use of biomass from certain federal and non-federal lands to promote healthier forests, more carbon sequestration, and cleaner transportation fuels. Senator Collins has also secured bill and report language in the Interior Appropriations bill underscoring the importance of biomass energy.  Senator Collins is also the lead Republican cosponsor of Biomass Thermal Utilization (BTU) Act, which would afford biomass thermal energy technologies the same tax treatment that other forms of renewable energy enjoy by expanding existing renewable energy tax credits to biomass heating technology. 

  • Clean Power Plan. On October 17, 2019, Senator Collins supported the resolution of disapproval (S.J.Res.53) that would block the Administration's repeal of the Clean Power Plan. Senator Collins was the only Republican to vote to block the Administration’s action.  In August 2018, Senator Collins was the first Republican to come out in opposition to the Trump Administration’s proposed rollback of EPA’s Clean Power Plan. 

  • Paris Agreement.  Senator Collins is a cosponsor of Sen. Shaheen’s International Climate Accountability Act, legislation that requires the President to develop and update annually a plan for the U.S. to meet its nationally determined contribution under the Paris Agreement on climate change. In 2017, Senator Collins joined Sen. Cardin in sending a letter to then-Secretary Tillerson encouraging him to keep the U.S. party to the Paris Agreement. In February 2019, Senators Collins, Menendez, and Cardin sent a letter to Secretary Pompeo expressing their support for the adoption of the “Paris Agreement Rulebook” at the 24th Session of the Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. 

  • Tick-borne Diseases. In response to the alarming increase in Lyme disease along with the growth of ticks found in Maine due to our changing climate, Senator Collins led the Kay Hagan Tick Act which applies a public health approach to combat tick-borne disease and was signed into law in December 2019. Senator Collins’ law requires the creation of a “national strategy” to expand research and improve testing for tick and other vector-borne diseases; reauthorizes CDC’s regional Centers of Excellence in Vector Borne diseases at $10 million annually over the next five-years to collaborate with academia and public health agencies for surveillance, prevention, and outbreak response; and authorizes $20 million annually for grants to state health departments so they have the resources needed to act. For her leadership in working to curb the epidemic of tick-borne diseases in the United States, Senator Collins was honored with the Congressional Lyme Champion Award in February 2020.

  • Clean Car Standards. In 2018, following the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the EPA’s Safer and More Affordable Fuel Efficient Vehicles Rules for Model Years 2021-2026 proposal, which would rollback clean car standards, Senators Collins and Reed sent a letter expressing concerns with the proposal. 

    • Senator Collins was an original cosponsor of Sen. Feinstein’s Ten-in-Ten Fuel Economy Act in 2007, which was incorporated into the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

  • Methane. Senator Collins has worked to reduce emissions from methane, a super pollutant that impacts climate change.  

    • In 2017, Senator Collins voted no on the motion to proceed to the BLM Methane and Waste Prevention Rule CRA, which would have rolled back the BLM Methane and Waste Prevention Rule. The CRA failed 51-49. 

    • In October 2019, Senator Collins sent a letter in opposition to the EPA’s proposal to modify the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), an Obama administration regulation to limit methane emissions from new, reconstructed, and modified sources in the oil and gas sector.

    • In August 2019, Senator Murphy and Senator Collins introduced the Super Pollutants Act, which focuses on three short-lived climate pollutants, methane, black carbon, and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). 

  • EPA Nominees. Senator Collins voted against both of President Trump's nominees to be EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt and Andrew Wheeler, and she also opposed the nomination of William Wehrum to lead EPA’s Office of Air and Regulation.

  • LIHEAP.  In March 2020, Senator Collins restored more than $37 million in transferred funding to the program through the supplemental funding bill to address coronavirus. After the Administration proposed to transfer this funding, she released a statement with Senator Reed and sent a letter with Senator King to the Appropriations Committee. She tweeted the breaking news on March 4. Prior to the third coronavirus supplemental funding bill, she sent a letter with Senator Reed advocating for at least $1B in additional LIHEAP funding. In the CARES Act, $900M was included for LIHEAP, and Senator Collins pressed HHS for quick dispersal of the funding. In FY2021, Maine received more than $43 million in LIHEAP funding. Since FY2010, Maine has received more than $474 million from the LIHEAP program. In February 2019, Senator Collins received a national award for her strong support of the LIHEAP program from NEADA.  

  • Weatherization. In Fiscal Year 2020, Senator Collins increased weatherization funding by more than $50M, with the program receiving $305 million.

o   Senator Collins annually co-leads a letter to the Appropriations Committee calling to fund the weatherization program, and each dollar spent on the program produces $4.50 in benefits, including energy savings. Using WAP, single-family homes have saved an average of $283 annually on energy costs.

o   In the 116th Congress, Senator Collins joined Senator Coons in introducing legislation to reauthorize the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP).  The Weatherization Enhancement, and Local Energy Efficiency Investment and Accountability Act (S. 983) would reauthorize WAP, develop a competitive grant program for non-profits, require minimum professional standards for contractors, and require an independent quality assurance program. 

·       Energy Efficiency. Senator Collins is the lead Republican on the Home Energy Savings Act to extend, modernize, and expand the tax credit for homeowners who improve the energy efficiency of their homes. This would incentivize homeowner investments in energy efficient windows, air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, electric heat pumps, water heaters, and biomass stoves. She is also the lead Republican on the New Home Energy Efficiency Act to extend, modernize, and expand the tax credit for homebuilders who build new energy efficient homes. 

o   In July 2019, Senator Collins joined a bipartisan group of Senators, including Sens. Portman and Shaheen, in introducing the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, legislation that would improve energy efficiency in three key sectors—buildings, industrial, and the federal government. 

o   Senators Collins and Warner also introduced the Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act, which would help streamline available federal energy efficiency programs and financing to improve the health and lower energy costs for our nation’s schools.

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