January 30, 2020
Acting on Climate
The Maine Climate Council held its second meeting, featuring an inspiring speech from youth representative Ania Wright and several scientific presentations. Down the hall, more than 100 Maine youth rallied to call for bolder climate action. Bangor High School students held an event on climate change for their peers.
Economist Richard Silkman has produced an analysis showing Maine could reach zero carbon by 2050 and not cost more over time than what Mainers are already paying for energy.
A study by AAA found that electric car use is on the rise in Maine, lawmakers are considering a bill to encourage cleaner electric school buses, and CLF’s Phelps Turner makes the case for Maine to join the regional Transportation and Climate Initiative.
Lots of towns are exploring solar because of the opportunity to reduce electricity costs, including Gray, Woodstock, Bath, Augusta, and Cumberland. The Bangor Daily News reports on how wind energy could power Maine in the future and a large project is proposed in Washington County. In Aroostook County, residents are benefiting from heat pump incentives.
There was a great op-ed making the conservative case for land conservation by fully funding the Land for Maine’s Future program. Congrats to Sebago Clean Waters for their announcement that 1,400 acres of forest has been preserved in the Sebago Lake watershed. A bill to increase funding for critical clean water protection staff is making its way through the Legislature, and our staff scientist Nick Bennett was quoted in this piece on hunting with non-lead ammunition.
In a blatant giveaway to fossil fuel companies and big corporations, the Trump Administration finalized its rollback of clean water protections.
The Land Use Planning Commission voted to certify the CMP corridor resulting in widespread coverage featuring our clean energy attorney Sue Ely including in the Portland Press Herald, Bangor Daily News, Associated Press, Maine Public, MaineBiz, WABI, WVII, News Center Maine, and WGME.
NRCM’s Sue Ely explains why the Department of Environmental Protection should reject the CMP corridor, and Jeff Reardon from Trout Unlimited emphasizes the damage the transmission line would have on brook trout. Another op-ed says that CMP corridor shows that Maine needs more comprehensive environmental reviews. Meanwhile, legislators are considering whether CMP was improperly granted a lease for its corridor on public lands and the Androscoggin County Commissioner became the latest group to rescind their support for the project.
CMP spent an astounding $2.3 million on political campaign ads to try and bolster its controversial corridor project. Hydro Quebec was forced to pay an ethics fine for its campaign activity to try save the CMP corridor.
The Portland Press Herald ran an in-depth piece on the recycling reform bill we’re advocating for and then next day the editorial board endorsed the plan! Plastic has an enormous carbon footprint and pollution impact.
January 2, 2020
NRCM Dip & Dash
The Clean Energy Transition
NRCM’s Dylan Voorhees wrote an op-ed with the CEO of Maine Solar Systems about how solar energy is strengthening Maine and its economy thanks to Governor Mills’ leadership. Meanwhile, Governor Mills sent a letter to Congress urging more action on climate, in particular for rural communities.
Tackling Transportation Pollution
There was a fantastic op-ed in the Bangor Daily News by Bowdoin student Noel Leonetti about why Maine needs a statewide public transportation system. Students in Falmouth applied for and received a grant to install EV chargers at the high school.
The Acadia Center urges Maine to become actively involved in the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) and Maine Audubon calls out the Gorham connector proposal for being at odds with the state’s climate goals. TCI is among the efforts to increase funding for transportation projects that are being considered separately by politicians.
The Land Use Planning Commission’s staff have issued a report that concludes CMP’s corridor project complies with all applicable rules, a conclusion that is contrary to what the evidence shows! The Commission meets on January 8 to make a final decision.
The Bangor Daily News “Maine Focus” team produced this in-depth story exploring Representative Seth Berry’s (D-Bowdoinham) bill that would transition utilities in Maine to public ownership.
Representative Nicole Grohoski (D-Ellsworth) is promoting recycling reform, and it’s fantastic to see the Bangor Daily News expanding their politics coverage in 2020 with new reporters. Check out editor Mike Shepherd’s post on what to expect!