Entries Filed in 'Issue 33'

Maine received $1,337,061.54 in proceeds from Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative’s recent auction

June 8th, 2012 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Community Maine, Energy Issues, Environment, Issue 33, Maine's green energy potential

Maine received $1,337,061.54 in proceeds from this week’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative’s (RGGI) auction. To date Maine has made $31,153,340 in proceeds that have benefited various weatherization and energy efficiency programs in the state.

“When you look at the facts, the RGGI region retained more jobs and sustained higher economic growth than any other region of the country through the recent economic downturn—at the same time, power sector CO2 emissions have dropped to their lowest levels since the early 1980’s,” said Dan Esty, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and Vice Chair of RGGI, Inc. “Creating jobs, spurring economic growth, and investing in a smarter energy future are hallmarks of the RGGI program.”

20,941,000 carbon dioxide (CO2) allowances were sold in RGGI’s 16th quarterly auction on Wednesday, announced the nine RGGI Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic States. The $40.4 million in funds generated by the auction will be reinvested by the RGGI States in energy efficiency, clean and renewable energy, direct bill assistance, and other consumer benefit programs across the region.

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Seth Wescott unveils his secret to winning Olympic gold

June 5th, 2012 · No Comments · Arts & Entertainment, Community Maine, Exclusive Interviews, Issue 33

Two time Olympic Gold winner, Seth Wescott after he took a run down Sugarloaf Mountain, behind him, to be welcomed home by his community. photo by Ramona du Houx

“I really believe there is a flow to everything in life,” said Seth Wescott during an interview at The Rack, the restaurant he co-owns, at the foot of Sugarloaf USA.

At the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, Seth Wescott made history as the first American winter athlete to defend a gold medal on snow, when he won Olympic gold for the second time in snowboard cross. Wescott, who started off the race in fourth place, gradually advanced throughout the field until the end, when he narrowly defeated Mike Robertson on the final jump. During that race something incredible happened to the Olympian.

A serene, confident Wescott reflected on that time and other moments in his career, when he had felt completely at one with nature.

“I had a ‘moment’ for ten seconds during that race. Even though I was in a competitive venue — and a manmade format — I felt I was communing with nature in that moment,” said Wescott. “I’ve had that type of experience other times in my career, where you lose certain senses you don’t need to accomplish the goal, and other senses become much more keen. Only the sense that I need to be enhanced takes over.”

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Issue 33

June 5th, 2012 · No Comments · Issue 33

PROFILES—

Seth Wescott at Sugarloaf photo by Ramona du Houx

Exclusive interview Seth Wescott unveils his secret to winning Olympic gold

Rep. Alexander Cornell du Houx’s highlighted in new book

MAINE’S GREEN ENERGY POTENTIAL—

FERC’s 2011 provision is a boost for Maine’s wind, water, and wave industries

Energy Committee successfully fought back LePage’s misguided energy policies

Study of community-wide energy use may have national implications

RGGI brings in $1.4 million in last cap and trade auction for Maine

Nonprofit Natural Resources Council of Maine now powered with solar energy

$1M federal grant awarded to Penobscot Nation for wind development project

ENERGY EFFICIENCY—

Energy Efficiency grant for Irving Forest Products

Efficiency Maine’s PowerSaver loans, up to $25 thousand, offer a 4.99 percent interest rate for weatherization for homeowners


INNOVATION ECONOMY—

Gov. John Baldacci celebrates with boat workers when their company received Pine Tree Development status

Why Maine needs Pine Tree Development Zones

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree tours Bigelow Laboratory’s new ocean science/education campus

Boothbay conference showcased successes and opportunities for bio-based products

• Backyard Farms tomatoes plans to construct a research and development building


LEPAGE POLICIES PUTTING PEOPLE AT RISK—

Maine state Capitol photo by Ramona du Houx

All three credit rating agencies have warned Maine since LePage policies

Maine Republicans forced budget cuts that put thousands at risk

To bond or not to bond — that is the question

Lawsuit seeks to restore healthcare to critically ill cancer patient, & hundreds more

Three bills that hurt workers rights signed by Gov. LePage who promoted them as “job creators”

TAKING ACTION—

The President energizes his base at Southern Maine Community College

Lawmakers take action to protect citizens from domestic violence

The hidden minority abused by the temporary protection order system

President Obama in Maine. photo by Ramona du Houx

Maine Lawmakers override Gov. LePage ideological veto of teacher training

Maine State Treasurer continues to misuse his position for personal gain

Democrats insist on OPEGA review of Maine’s DHHS financial cover-up

Veterans, lawmakers hail new veterans’ treatment court signed into law

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To bond or not to bond — that is the question

June 5th, 2012 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Capitol news, Community Maine, Economy, Issue 33

Even if the people of Maine vote for needed bonds will their governor approve them for sale? photo by Ramona du Houx

“Why is the governor turning away opportunity? Blocking targeted investments in research and development (R&D) will keep Maine at the bottom,” said Senator Justin Alfond, the assistant Senate Democratic leader.

Gov. LePage vetoed An Act to Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue in the Amount of $20,000,000 to Fund Research and Development. On May 31st Maine’s 125th Legislature was successful in overriding his veto with a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate.

“To encourage prosperity and ingenuity we have to prepare our state, our economy, and our people for the demands of the future. We should be doing all we can to encourage innovation, create job opportunities, and create the success stories of tomorrow. With this veto, the governor, yet again, turned his back on what’s best for the people of Maine,” said Alfond.

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Maine Republicans forced budget cuts that put thousands at risk

June 5th, 2012 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Capitol news, Community Maine, Economy, Issue 33, Public Safety

Maine State Capitol photo by Ramona du Houx
Sen. Troy Jackson said during the floor debate on the budget, “I never signed up to be the person who decides who lives and dies in this state, or to say, I’m sorry, you don’t have health care anymore.”

The vote in the Senate was 19 to 16, along party lines. Republicans forced through budget cuts that will take away health care from more than 24,000 Maine seniors, children, and working families, while also passing unfunded tax cuts for the wealthy. In the initial vote of 74 to 69, Republican lawmakers in the Maine House of Representatives did the same.

“The Republican budget cuts will do unnecessary harm to seniors and working families across our state,” said Rep. Peggy Rotundo, the lead Democrat on the Appropriations Committee. “No Maine family should have to choose between putting food on the table or paying for medicine.”

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All three credit rating agencies have warned Maine to get economic house in order since LePage

June 5th, 2012 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Capitol news, Economy, Issue 33

Sun-setting on Maine's Capitol photo by Ramona du Houx

“While the health care jobs have been an economic driver over the course of the recent recession, the state’s efforts to reduce spending on social services, especially Medicaid, may reduce future growth prospects for that sector,” wrote Moody’s Investors Services, one of Maine’s credit rating agencies.

This was one reason why Moody’s dropped Maine’s bond rating to AA negative from AA positive. Some economists have said that the negative stamp is a warning to the state to review policies that might endanger job growth. From 2002 to 2010 job growth occurred mainly in healthcare, manufacturing and innovation sectors.

Moody’s also saw problems with the lack of funds in the state’s rainy day fund. The agency cited a, “weak general fund liquidity position reflecting the lack of reserves.”

Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch are the three main agencies that rate debt issued by governments and corporations.

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Why Maine needs Pine Tree Development Zones

June 5th, 2012 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Capitol news, Community Maine, Creative Economy, Economy, Issue 33

Gov. John E. Baldacci with workers at a lumber company celebrating the company's Pine Tree Development status. photo by Ramona du Houx

Every state, every country wishes that they could advertise that they have the best workforce, to businesses around the world. It’s a universal claim. So without a huge advertising budget, how has Maine succeeded in bringing international businesses to the state? Pine Tree Development Zones (PTDZ) have attracted to the state companies that would never have considered Maine, thereby advertising Maine workers to the global economy. Prior to coming to Maine, many of these PTDZ-certified businesses conducted state-by-state analysis — some did global studies — looking for the best tax benefits, workforce, and quality of life. PTDZs bring businesses here — Maine’s workforce proves to them how great Maine’s workers are.

“I’m very proud about this program and what its impact has been. It levels the playing field in Maine. It’s not about taxes, it’s not about regulations— it’s about being able to compete in the global marketplace,” said Governor John Baldacci during an interview with Maine Insights in 2010.

The PTDZ tax incentive initiative was introduced by Baldacci in 2003 to stimulate growth in economically challenged areas. The program now covers the entire state, so local businesses can expand — like National Semiconductor did in South Portland, which saved the company from outsourcing.

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FERC’s 2011 provision is a boost for Maine’s wind, water, and wave industries

June 5th, 2012 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Economy, Energy Issues, Environment, Issue 33, Maine's green energy potential

Statoil’s, test offshore floating wind turbine. Statoil is working with UMaine sharing technology for the first floating wind farms off the coast of Maine. This year UMaine will deploy America’s first prototype floating wind platform off Monhegan Island.

Maine sends $5 billion a year out of state to pay for oil and gasoline, much of which could be kept here if the state continues to develop a diverse alternative energy portfolio. Offshore wind and tidal energy are two key technologies that use Maine’s natural resources, which can lessen the state’s dependency on oil.

“Maine’s wave and tidal current resources offer real opportunities to generate renewable energy using water-power technologies in the future,” said Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu, referring to two DOE reports. “Together with new advances and innovations in water-power technologies, these resource assessments can help to further develop the country’s significant ocean energy resources, create new industries and new jobs in America, and secure U.S. leadership in an emerging global market.”

The two reports, Mapping and Assessment of the United States Ocean Wave Energy Resource and Assessment of Energy Production Potential from Tidal Streams in the United States, calculate the maximum kinetic energy available from waves and tides off U.S. Coastal areas south of Eastport and south of Cross Island. Maine’s tides could generate up to 675 megawatts of power.

These assessments can help to further develop Maine’s ongoing efforts in tidal and wave technologies, create new jobs and secure Maine’s world leadership in this new industry, with companies like Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) and with the University of Maine.

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Rep. Alexander Cornell du Houx is highlighted in new book

June 5th, 2012 · 1 Comment · Books, Capitol news, Community Maine, Energy Issues, Issue 33, State Representatives

President Obama meets with Rep. Cornell du Houx at the White House to discuss the young lawmakers work in energy independence Courtesy photo

Rep. Alex Cornell du Houx is highlighted in a new book, On Point: Voices and Values of the Young Elected Officials, along with 15 others nationwide, by Jeff L. Thigpen. Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader George J. Mitchell wrote an introduction to the book, mentioning his Mitchell Scholarship program, of which Cornell du Houx was a recipient while at Bowdoin College. Cornell du Houx is one of seven state lawmakers in the book and the only one from Maine.

Cornell du Houx is in his second term, representing Brunswick District 66. He serves on the Energy, Technology and Utilities Committee, is chair of the Veterans Caucus, and former vice-chair of the National Conference of State Legislatures’ Agriculture and Energy Committee. He is also a member of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators.

Cornell du Houx joined the Marine Reserve in 2002 and was deployed to Iraq in 2006, spending a year patrolling the streets in and around Fallujah. In December 2011, Rep. Cornell du Houx was commissioned in the Navy Reserves. He serves as a public affairs officer stationed out of Bangor, Maine. He conducts operational support for US Central Command (Middle East operations).

“I have served and continue to serve our country in the military since 2002, and the people of Brunswick in the Legislature simultaneously since 2008,” said Cornell du Houx.

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Maine’s Energy Committee successfully fought back LePage’s misguided policies

June 5th, 2012 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Capitol news, Community Maine, Economy, Energy Issues, Issue 33, Maine's green energy potential

Rep. Alex Cornell du Houx testifies on energy policies at the State House. photo by Ramona du Houx

Democratic lawmakers on the state Legislature’s Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee successfully held back Gov. Paul LePage’s efforts to ram through sweeping energy proposals that would have undercut energy efficiency and Maine’s renewable-energy standards.

“Maine’s energy policies have been a beacon of economic growth, creating jobs and yielding lower energy costs,” said Rep. Alex Cornell du Houx, who serves on the committee. “Our renewable-energy standard gives investors confidence because the policy shows that Maine is committed to alternative energy sources. We must continue to invest in and prioritize energy efficiency and renewable energy.”

Maine’s investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy has created more than 12,000 jobs in the state.

Governor John Baldacci, working with the Legislature, created the Efficacy Maine Trust as an independent trust dedicated to promoting the efficient and cost-effective use of energy in order to save money for Maine residents and businesses, grow the economy, and to create jobs. In 2010, An Act Regarding Maine’s Energy Future was passed into law to decrease our dependency on oil. The law established the goal to weatherize all residences and 50 percent of businesses by 2030 and to reduce the state’s consumption of liquid fossil fuels by at least 30 percent by 2030.

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