Chellie Pingree
In this Oct. 21, 2020, file photo, U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree stands outside her office on the Portland waterfront. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

As hope for major congressional action on climate change dims, U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree and 60 of her House colleagues urged President Joe Biden to declare a national emergency.

The representatives had written a similar letter in April, but Pingree said the urgency is growing as reports suggest that Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin will be blocking any major climate action in the closely divided Senate.

Pingree said there has been some recent congressional action on climate change, in infrastructure and interior bills that fund many climate-related initiatives.

“So it’s not as if we’re doing nothing,” Pingree said. “But this is an emergency, and the magnitude of what we need to be doing now at all levels is so enormous, that I think we just can’t wait, and we need to use every tool possible out there.”

Pingree said a national emergency declaration would help build a stronger renewable energy industry. She said that would not only reduce the impacts of climate change, it would also generate millions of good jobs and rejuvenate the American economy.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.