Just two days after my thermometer read a balmy 33 degrees, a record low was set (Feb. 24), when outdoor temps reached a biting -16 degrees. Considering those extreme temperature fluctuations combined with fierce storms and blizzards walloping the Northeast and dropping record amounts of precipitation — I would say climate change was caught red-handed.

Accumulated snow presents state-wide dangers, such as hazardous road conditions and collapsing roofs, while freeze and thaw cycles create slick, icy conditions for pedestrians and drivers alike. Recently, frozen fuel lines prevented or delayed school bus transportation for many Lewiston students. While parents and community members communicated and transported children to school, many kids risked frostbite waiting for buses in sub-zero temperatures.

While Maine winters can be notoriously tough, the incidence of recent extremes highlights the pivotal role of climate change.

U.S. power plants are among the primary culprits; the sum of their carbon emissions earns them the place as the world’s third largest polluter. Luckily, the EPA’s Clean Power Plan aims to cut that pollution by 30 percent during the next 15 years, and Maine’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative puts us on track to comply.

Despite Maine’s efforts to quell carbon emissions, other states and officials pledge to back fossil fuel industries and strike down the Clean Power Plan.

The people of Maine, in the name of frozen pipes and mounds of snow, need to stand and encourage our senators to back the Clean Power Plan to slow climate change and keep Maine healthy.

Nina Doonan, Lewiston

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