Democratic U.S. Rep. for Maine’s First Congressional District Chellie Pingree announced Wednesday that she mended a staffers jeans in order to fight climate change.
Rep. Pingree, whom the Federal Election Commission fined in 2010 for failing to disclose trips to the Virgin Islands on S. Donald Sussman’s private jet, also said Maine will soon receive more than $3.5 million in grants from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to fund “environmental justice” projects in the state.
The funding comes from President Joe Biden’s 2022 Inflation Reduction Act — which authorized $783 billion in spending on energy and climate change initiatives.
Pingree, ranking member of the House Appropriations Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee, said Wednesday that “Mainers from the coast to the mountains are already experiencing the impacts of climate change.”
“As the Gulf of Maine warms and more frequent extreme weather events affect our fisheries, farmers, and businesses, federal investments are critical to not only mitigating the climate crisis but making our communities more resilient to its impacts,” Pingree said.
“From strengthening working waterfronts and developing a clean energy workforce to improving environmental public health and advancing environmental justice, these significant investments made possible by the historic Inflation Reduction Act will go a long way in helping our overburdened communities and will also help Maine achieve our climate goals,” she said.
The over $3.5 million in funds will be spread across six projects across the state that were selected by the EPA to “ensure disadvantaged communities that have historically suffered from underinvestment have access to clean air and water and climate resilience solutions in alignment with the Biden-Harris administration’s Justice40 Initiative.”
The Justice40 Initiative stems from an executive order signed by President Biden within days of his taking office which sets a goal of 40 percent of certain federal investments being directed to “disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution.”
The six recipients of the funds are:
- Gulf of Maine Research Institute: $500,000 for “disadvantaged working waterfront communities” to engage in offshore wind development in the Gulf of Maine;
- United Charitable: $500,000 to the ReTreeUS project in Auburn, Maine, to develop eight “food forests;”
- Maine People’s Resource Center: $500,000 to invest in workforce development “necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants through clean energy projects;”
- Center for an Ecology-Based Economy: $150,000 allocated to the Western Maine Foothills Region to increase “community resilience;”
- The Penobscot Indian Nation: $1,000,000 for installing a minimum of 150 heat pumps in Tribal and private housing units occupied by the elderly, veterans, and families with young children;
- Greater Portland Council of Governments: $886,014 to help “underserved, disadvantaged, and rural populations in Cumberland and York Counties” respond to climate change.
Also on Wednesday, the Democratic U.S. Congresswoman took to X, formerly Twitter, to congratulate herself on mending a pair of her staff member’s jeans, rather than “adding to the climate crisis.”
When a staffer told Pingree about how her jeans were torn, Pingree says her office began talking “about how when discarded clothing ends up in landfills, it breaks down and releases a greenhouse gas 28 times more harmful than CO2.”
“So instead of tossing them in a pile, I asked if I could “visibly mend” them while we waited for House Republicans to pick a leader,” Pingree said. “So, we may not have a Speaker yet, but this sisterhood of the traveling pants will not be adding to the climate crisis anytime soon!”
The FEC fined Pingree $9,750 for using Sussman’s private jet in her 2010 campaign and failing to disclose it.