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On The Campaign Trail, Gideon Unveils Broad Set Of Climate Policy Goals

Sara Gideon talks with ReVision Energy solar installation company at its South Portland headquarters.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Sara Gideon visited a South Portland solar power company Friday to unveil a broad set of climate policy goals she would pursue if elected over Republican incumbent Susan Collins.

Gideon says the United States should be emitting "net-zero" greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, require utilities to increase the amount of carbon-free power they put on the electricity grid, and create a national "Conservation Corps" of young people working to respond to climate change.

As Speaker of the Maine House, Gideon last year signed on to a bill that would have taxed bulk fossil fuel sales in Maine and used the proceeds to reduce Mainers' electricity bills.

She was asked whether she would support a carbon tax at the national level.

"In terms of looking at the different ways — including carbon taxes — I know there are conversations about those out there, I'm not prepared to support one of those."

Gideon said much the same about creating so-called "cap-and-trade" markets for carbon credits that polluters must buy. She did say she would support raising mileage requirements for automobiles, but did not have a specific number in mind.

And Gideon says she is opposed to Central Maine Power's planto bring hydro-electric power to the region via a transmission line through western Maine. She says she has seen no evidence that the project would actually reduce carbon emissions, as the company claims.

A Columbia University graduate, Fred began his journalism career as a print reporter in Vermont, then came to Maine Public in 2001 as its political reporter, as well as serving as a host for a variety of Maine Public Radio and Maine Public Television programs. Fred later went on to become news director for New England Public Radio in Western Massachusetts and worked as a freelancer for National Public Radio and a number of regional public radio stations, including WBUR in Boston and NHPR in New Hampshire.