NRCM Media Relations & Advocacy Communications Director Colin Durrant shares his thoughts on the latest news related to Maine’s land, air, water, and wildlife each week. Here are this week’s stories:
February 27, 2020
Sustainable ME director Sarah Nichols was quoted in this Time article about Maine’s recycling reform bill.
The Conservative Case for LMF
Two Republican lawmakers make a clear and compelling case for funding the popular and effective Land for Maine’s Future program to support land conservation.
A new Springvale to Saco public bus service has been launched because “the lack of affordable and accessible transportation has been identified as a barrier for the delivery of health care in York County.”
Climate Action and Clean Energy
Farmers in the County are experiencing challenges due to weather changes caused by climate change.
Solar and wind are helping to push down electricity prices in New England. Governor Mills is headed to Scotland to continue her push for more offshore wind projects to provide clean, renewable power. Gorham is considering a large “Maine Mall-sized” solar project.
Turns out the firm that did an “independent study” of the CMP corridor project was also working for Hydro-Quebec at the same time. It’s a “conflict of interest plain and simple,” said our attorney Sue Ely. Former Governor LePage was paid to advocate for the CMP corridor, and CMP’s Spanish owner was in town to try and reassure people about the trouble corridor proposal and told Mainers we should just “move past” CMP’s problems. Yikes.
February 20, 2020
It’s never been a better time to consider going solar according to Steve Ball and Tom Tietenberg!
Our very own climate outreach coordinator spoke with the Bangor Daily News about the rising interest in solar across the state.
Portland city councilors unanimously voted to enter into a solar collective with other large energy users to build solar projects that will provide them with cheaper, cleaner electricity.
UMaine released its latest report on Maine’s Climate Future, essentially reading for all of us working to tackle climate change. Our friend at TNC Maine, Kate Dempsey, had an op-ed in the Bangor Daily News about the Maine Climate Council and combating climate change in Maine.
The Portland Press Herald takes a deep dive into a report by Efficiency Maine on “beneficial electrification,” which is the process of moving our heating and transportation systems to electric sources.
Maine joined two other states in working to eliminate a potent source of greenhouse gas emissions. Pine Tree Watch looks at how solar and electric car use is up in Maine.
The Portland Press Herald ran a great story detailing the challenges facing public transit in Southern Maine and what needs to change to make it better.
A new bus service is launching for Saco and Springvale to address the “lack of affordable and accessible transportation” that “has been identified as a barrier for the delivery of health care in York County.”
Turns out the firm that did an “independent study” on the CMP corridor was also working for Hydro-Quebec at the time. Can you say: “conflict of interest?”
It gets even better – lawmakers have unveiled that the leases CMP got to cross public land for its corridor proposal were entered into illegally and they aren’t happy about it.
CMP announces it doesn’t really care about what Maine voters have to say.
Assorted Other Topics
It’s the 20th anniversary of the Economical Reserve System, and the Bangor Daily News’ Aislinn Sarnacki takes a look at what that means for Maine and its people.
Thank to our friends at the Plastic-free Peninsula for supporting recycling reform in their local newspaper! This story is a reminder of why we’re working to limit out-of-state waste being classified as in-state so it can be dumped in our landfills.
Congrats to the two Maine teachers from Edward Little High School in Auburn who were among 11 chosen in the nation to perform climate research in the Arctic!
February 5, 2020
Solar News Keeps Coming!
So much good solar news it’s hard to keep track so here’s my best attempt.
A new solar project could save Regional School Unit 9 more than $150,000 a year! Hope flipped the switch on a new solar array that will power heat pumps in town buildings (shout out to the local children who pushed the town to act!), Vassalboro approved a potential solar energy project to power town buildings, and Harrison approved two new solar projects, made possible by the changes in state solar policy. Cumberland expects to save $20,000 in the first year with its new solar field, and a proposed solar farm in Gorham could include battery storage and even sheep!
Economist Richard Silkman has published a report detailing how Maine could get to zero carbon by 2050 without more energy spending.
Here are a few letters to the editor highlighting the great feedback that was received for the Maine Climate Council’s second meeting.
MaineDOT Commissioner Bruce VanNote has been highlighting the funding crisis facing Maine’s transportation system, mostly recently appearing on WVOM (listen to segment 1 and segment 2) and The Maine Event.
CMP on the Ballot
The grassroots opponents of CMP’s corridor proposal delivered 75,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office to get a question stopping the destructive transmission line on November’s ballot. That number is far more than the 63,000 required. Our friend at Trout Unlimited, Jeff Reardon, had a must read op-ed detailing the harm the project would inflict on brook trout.
Students in Wales heard the pros and cons of CMP’s corridor proposal, and let’s just say they weren’t convinced.
A bill filed in the Legislature would block foreign influence in ballot initiative campaigns, including stopping Hydro-Quebec from spending big to influence the CMP corridor referendum