A dozen or so students, many from Brunswick, went to the offices of Maine's federal lawmakers in Portland on Wednesday to urge them to support a federal Green New Deal proposal.
That plan put forth by New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a Democrat representing parts of the Bronx and Queens and Massachusetts Democratic Senator Ed Markey, is a nonbinding resolution.
The lawmakers hope it will eventually of direct federal dollars towards combating climate change and generating employment.
Many Republicans, including President Trump, are critical of the proposal and say it lacks specificity.
The students at Wednesday's protest, however, say Congress approving the resolution would be a big step in the right direction even if it does not lead to immediate change.
"I'm not the writer of the resolution nor am I a politician," said Haley Maurice who says she represents a group called Sunrise Brunswick, " am a young person scared for my future and for that reason, I think I absolutely have the stake to be here."
Maurice and other students say they are not concerned that Democrats supporting the measure could hurt their election or re-election chances as a result.
Instead, they are more concerned about the consequences of inaction on environmental issues and that whatever law finally emerges from the Green New Deal, if any, will be weaker than the initial proposal.
"I'm definitely worried it will be diluted," said Maddie Hidika of Bowdoin Climate Action. "I think we need real change."
Maine's federal lawmakers are not in complete agreement on what a Green New Deal should look like yet.
Democratic Congresswoman Chellie Pingree says the resolution has many good ideas but this is just the first step. "The Green New Deal sets a bold vision for dealing with the climate change crisis … There is a lot of work to be done in the days ahead to iron out the details," Rep. Pingree said. "I’m confident that we can pass something in the House and send it to the Senate."
In a statement to NEWS CENTER Maine, the office Republican U.S. Senator Susan Collins did not specifically say she is for or against a Green New Deal instead saying "Senator Collins has long worked to address the significant environmental and economic challenges posed by climate change," and "Senator Collins always appreciates hearing Maine students and she shares their concerns about climate change."
Meanwhile, in an interview with NEWS CENTER Maine the state's other Democratic Congressman, Jared Golden, said "I think the devil is in the details and I’m looking for things that we can do in this political environment.
He added, "if you want to talk about bipartisan efforts, discussions about infrastructure, certainly we include that in our efforts to improve energy infrastructure, and put an emphasis and a priority on the expansion of solar power and wind power, and other ways that we can address issues with climate change. I haven’t had those conversations specifically about the Green New Deal."
Independent U.S. Senator Angus King's office said given there are a number of policy proposals that fall under the general Green New Deal label, Maine's junior senator would need to review each as they become specific legislation.
"But as I understand it," King said in a statement, "the Green New Deal is fundamentally aimed at stimulating the economy while addressing climate change. I believe we can and must do both, and though I may not agree with every proposal that uses that title, I stand ready to work with my colleagues to create a strong response to the dangers posed by climate change.”