Around New England

Two New England Members of Congress Backing ‘Green New Deal’

November 29, 2018

U.S. Representative-elect Ayanna Pressley (D-Dorchester) and Maine U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree are among 15 House Democrats supporting a so-called Green New Deal.

Details are hazy – “Nobody knows” is how the environmentalist group Sierra Club describes the specifics — but an outline provided by chief instigator Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez describes its goal as providing a “transition of the United States economy to become carbon neutral and to significantly draw down and capture greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and oceans and to promote economic and environmental justice and equality.”

The outline calls for coming up with a 10-year plan to switch “100 percent of national power generation” from so-called fossil fuels like oil, natural gas, and coal to so-called “renewable sources” like the sun, the wind, and water.

The Green New Deal represents a shift in climate-change activism from a massive carbon tax (which the United States has never implemented) and government regulations to what the outline calls “massive investment” by the federal government. The outline uses the word “investment” 29 times.

Why is the federal money needed?

“Simply put, we don’t need to just stop doing some things we are doing (like using fossil fuels for energy needs); we also need to start doing new things (like overhauling whole industries or retrofitting all buildings to be energy efficient),” the outline says.

But carbon taxes are still important. It’s a both-and approach.

“We’re not saying that there is no place for regulation and taxes (and these will continue to be important tools); we’re saying we need to add some new tools to the toolkit,” the outline says.

Ocasio-Cortez, 29, a Democrat from Brooklyn and about-to-be-first term member of Congress, is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.

Pressley, a Boston city councilor who is about to become a member of Congress, was an early supporter of the Green New Deal. Pingree, 63, who lives in North Haven, Maine and is about to start her sixth term in Congress, announced her support Tuesday.

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