Young Mainers join the discussion about greenhouse gases

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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - A group of young Mainers joined the discussion at the Maine Department of Environmental Protection Tuesday. The subject? Greenhouse gases.

"A year ago, I felt helpless. What was a kid like me going to do? Maybe here, today, is my chance."

Sixth grader Anna Siegel was the youngest of many who spoke about a citizens petition on greenhouse gas emissions at the Maine Department of Environmental Protection in Augusta Tuesday.

"It's amazing to be actually doing something, activism. Something I can actually do at my age, which is really nice."

The petition, submitted by several organizations concerned over climate change, proposes rules to cut Maine's output of greenhouse gases by eight percent every year.

supporters cite a 2003 Maine law that set forth long-term goals to reduce emissions and say changes are needed to meet those goals.

"We urgently need the state of Maine to do its part to write effective regulations under MRSA 805 that reduce toxic CO2 emissions, address adaptation to sea level rise, ocean acidification, storm event planning, and aquifer replenishment. Acting now is imperative to protect the lives of our children and grandchildren and a world they can inhabit."

Lisa Gilbreath spoke on behalf of a group of Maine businesses who say progress in reducing emissions continues to be made, and the added regulations would be too expensive and largely ineffective.

"Every one of these large companies has reduced it's GHG emissions in recent years and there are already ample incentives to reduce energy consumption by increasing efficiency. So it's not that we're opposed to reducing GHG emissions, it's that we're opposed to these proposals because they're simply impractical."

Siegel ended her testimony with a poem.

"Maybe what you tell future generations is the story of how Icarus listened, listened to his father, listened to the voices unified screaming out save our planet, and we carried earth on our wings once more."