New Governors In NE States Have Big Plans

CodeWatcher Northeast governors building industry

Here’s what the new governors of Maine, Connecticut, and Massachusetts have in store for carbon emissions reduction, transportation, renewables, and energy codes.

The state of Maine elected its first female governor, Janet Mills, in early November. She plans to cut emissions at the state level by 80% over the next 11 years, through increased financing for weatherization, heat pumps, and photovoltaics through electric bills. Her campaign site also had a very ambitious list of environmental goals, including:

• Change existing regulations to allow larger solar farms and more individuals and organizations to participate in community solar projects.
• Create carve-outs for solar projects that benefit low income residents, municipalities, and community solar projects.
• Promote a 21st century transportation infrastructure and system that supports and encourages all modes of transportation, especially those that will reduce carbon pollution.
• Pass legislation that supports development of offshore wind power.

Due to the election results, her environmental agenda isn’t just a wish list. Democrats won both legislative chambers, so passage of supportive legislation should be a lot easier.

Connecticut also elected a new governor, Ned Lamont. He wants to reduce carbon emissions from current levels by 35% by 2030. While this is at a slower pace than Maine’s stated plan, he also has a longer-term goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. In addition, Governor Lamont’s campaign includes resiliency against rising sea levels, modernizing the grid, securing a clean energy economy, and investing in sustainable transportation options.

Like Governor Mills of Maine, Lamont has political alignment in both chambers, so these initiatives should move forward with some expediency.

In Massachusetts, Republican Charlie Baker was re-elected as governor, and part of his platform called for identifying climate change as a priority agenda item, as well as indicating support for an emissions trading program to tackle transportation emissions. In a state that has a famously aggressive stretch energy code, it’s not surprising to see bi-partisan support for environmental concerns. If anything, this state should be exhibit A when making the case that the environment knows no political affiliation, and that Republicans and Democrats can work together to improve the condition of our land, air and water.