Sudden, severe storms that dump inches of rain in a short period of time have little impact on relieving the ongoing drought conditions in Maine. Credit: Julia Bayly / BDN

The BDN Opinion section operates independently and does not set newsroom policies or contribute to reporting or editing articles elsewhere in the newspaper or on

Kathleen Meil is director of Policy and Partnerships at Maine Conservation Voters. Jeff McCabe is director of politics and legislation at MSEA-SEIU. Rebecca Boulos is executive director of the Maine Public Health Association.

Affordable health care. Historic investments to fight climate change. Well-paying renewable energy jobs, based here, in the U.S. Tax policies that ensure corporations and the rich pay their fair share. No matter which aspect of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) you want to celebrate, it’s a big deal.

From oppressive heat, wildfires, drought, flooding and booming tick populations, climate change is impacting the lives of all people in Maine – and will continue to do so. Recognizing that those burdens fall disproportionately on some communities, Maine is taking bold steps to secure a strong future for our people, environment, and economy — but we can’t do it alone.

The IRA provides critical support for tackling the climate crisis and is the single-largest climate investment in U.S. history. It is projected to cut planet-warming pollution roughly 40 percent by 2030, create millions of good-paying jobs, and save households about $1,000 a year on energy costs through home weatherization incentives, heat pump rebates, and energy efficiency tax credits.

Air quality monitoring will make Maine’s environment and our communities healthier. Farmers will be able to reduce their dependence on costly fossil fuels and implement climate-smart land management practices. Mainers will have access to a $7,500 credit for new electric vehicles and a $4,000 credit for used electric vehicles, giving more of us the opportunity to break free of oil and gas companies’ price gouging at the pump. Coastal communities will be able to build barriers to protect essential marsh ecosystems, preserving biodiversity and mitigating storm surge damage to homes and businesses. Homeowners who install solar panels could deduct 30 percent of the project’s cost from their taxes. These are just some of the climate action highlights of this massive bill – and the opportunities don’t stop there.

Maine families are struggling to afford basic necessities while corporations and millionaires are making record profits. The IRA ensures wealthy corporations pay their fair share by closing corporate tax loopholes and creating a minimum corporate tax rate. It’s projected to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in large-scale clean power generation and storage in Maine between now and 2030 — offering a historic set of tax credits that will create jobs across solar, wind, storage, and other clean energy industries. Maine already has nearly 13,000 people employed in clean energy jobs; the IRA creates opportunities for even more family-sustaining jobs. Crucially, it facilitates training so that Maine people who are employed by the fossil fuel industry can transition to these new opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

Keeping our state and our communities strong and healthy means ensuring we can all get the care we need when we need it. Pharmaceutical companies shouldn’t make money jacking up prices, especially for folks with fixed incomes. To lower health care costs and tackle corporate greed, the IRA finally allows the government to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices. Medicare enrollees will also receive free vaccinations, lower out-of-pocket drug costs, and pay no more than $35 per month for insulin. The healthcare-related changes from this legislation not only benefit Mainers with low-incomes and older adults, but all of us.

The IRA is by no means perfect, but it’s absolutely the investment that Maine communities, workforce and our climate future need right now. It’s been a long road to arrive at this legislation, and we offer our sincere thanks to Sen. Angus King, Rep. Chellie Pingree, and Rep. Jared Golden for supporting the IRA. While passing this bill marks a historic moment of progress, we recognize that it falls short in meeting the needs of communities of color and at-risk communities. Race, age, income, and zip code should not determine health status, exposure to dangerous fossil fuel infrastructure, or career opportunities. This legislation is a beginning, not an end.

Together, we will continue to work for a stronger, more prosperous clean energy future, fight the still-too-powerful interests prepared to sacrifice public health for profit, and move Maine and our nation forward.