Wind turbine project approved by Hancock County Commissioners September 12th will generate $11 million in property tax revenue for the county over a 30-year period agreement.
The commission voted 2-1 in approval of a tax increment financing (TIF) district for the project, which will install 17 turbines, at 500 feet tall, with a 3-megawatt capacity in Townships 22 and 16. Of the $11 million in property tax revenue, Hancock County will keep $5.82 million, while the rest will go to Hancock Wind, a First Wind subsidiary.
The agreement allows Hancock Wind to retain 70 percent of its annual tax payments to the county for the next 20 years, but for the last 10 years of the agreement the county will receive 100 percent of the tax revenue.
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Mike Michaud helped secure funds for UMaine’s first in the Americas floating wind turbine project, VoltunUS. Photo by Ramona du Houx
U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, discussed his plan for creating jobs, reducing energy costs and protecting Maine’s environment by making Maine a leader in alternative energy development today at the E2Tech gubernatorial forum.
Gov. LePage refused to attend the event.
“Maine can and must do more to cut heating costs and energy bills in Maine. My administration will make energy efficiency and clean energy development a top priority,” Michaud said. “I’ve set a goal of cutting the use of home heating oil in half by 2030. It’s an aggressive goal, but I think we can do it by promoting renewable energy in Maine, including wind power, solar, ocean energy and investing in efficiency and weatherization.”
In his MAINE MADE business and investment plan, Michaud proposed several detailed initiatives to make Maine a leader in renewable energy development, including a Maine solar power initiative, the creation of the Maine Ocean Energy Center of Excellence that would partner with the private sector to cement Maine’s place as a leader in off-shore renewable energy production and a commitment to support energy efficiency.
At the event, Michaud praised the work that businesses, organizations and groups like E2Tech are doing in Maine to promote renewable energy and said Gov. LePage has stood in the way of progress for nearly four years.
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Tags: clean energy in maine·Congressman Mike Michaud·economic development·Maine's quality of life
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree said today that the Gorham-based Biodiversity Research Institute (BRI) is getting a $1.1 million federal grant to help them develop innovative new technology to detect birds and bats near wind turbines. Pingree had pushed for the funding for BRI and said it will help the growing wind power industry in Maine while protecting important bird and bat species.
“The wind power industry is creating jobs in Maine while developing new sources of clean energy,” Pingree said. “But for the industry to keep growing we have to develop better ways to make sure wind turbines aren’t having an impact on the environment. This research that BRI is collaborating on will help do that and is a great example of how Maine can be a leader in clean energy technology.”
BRI will use the grant to further develop a system of high-tech cameras that detect birds and bats in the area of wind turbines. The project is a collaboration with private and public partners including the University of Maine, First Wind and HiDefAerial Surveying.
Vice President Biden made a point to try and shake everyone’s hand in the audience. Photo by Morgan Rogers
Vice President Biden toured the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard September 3rd with Maine Congressman and Gubernatorial candidate, Mike Michaud, to highlight the history and future of Maine’s manufacturing innovation.
The tour of the 214-year-old Naval Shipyard gave Michaud a chance to share Maine’s shipbuilding history, manufacturing potential, and University of Maine’s “Bridge-in-a-Backpack” initiative, with Biden.
“I’ve traveled a million miles around the world as vice president and I traveled a million miles before that,” said Biden to more than a 1000 attendees at the shipyard. “And the fact of the matter is you’re the best in the world. It’s true.”
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September 1st, 2014 · Filed under: Labor issues
U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud was recognized by the Southern Maine Labor Council (SMLC) with their Working Class Hero Award today. Fellow Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree and SMLC President Douglas Born presented Michaud with the award at the organization’s annual Labor Day Breakfast in Portland.
“I’m incredibly honored to receive this award from the Southern Maine Labor Council. Maine’s workforce represents the heart of our communities and the true engine of our economy,” said Michaud. “I’ve never forgotten my roots, and I’ve never forgotten the importance of using my position in Congress to work for the betterment of all Maine families. I know that by continuing to stand side-by-side, we can keep making meaningful advancements on the issues most important to Maine families.”
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Tags: Congressman Mike Michaud·Jobs·Maine's quality of life
August 26th, 2014 · Filed under: Economy
The latest in a series of reports, authored by the national Alliance for a Just Society, on the divide between what Maine workers need to earn to afford basic necessities and what available jobs in Maine actually pay was released today.
The report finds that a living wage (enough money to cover food, housing, health care, utilities, household expenses and to save for the future) for a single adult with no children working full-time in Maine would be $15.82 an hour. Two adults, both working and with two children, would have to earn $19.49 an hour to make ends meet. The minimum wage in Maine is currently only $7.50 an hour.
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Tags: Wages in Maine
The Maine Council on Aging (MCOA)—made up of over 30 organizations working to ensure the well-being of Maine’s older adults—announced its support today of a package of legislative proposals presented by Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, Mark Eves.
“Maine is the oldest state in the nation — each day more than 50 people turn 65. These numbers must be a call to action for our state leaders,” said Eves, who has who has spearheaded a statewide aging initiative to address Maine’s aging challenges. “We must transform how people age in our state so they can live independently in their communities and homes. That is the goal of the “KeepME Home” initiative.”
The “KeepME Home” initiatives announced by Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, Mark Eves addresses several critical needs for older Mainers: affordable housing near services, access to needed home care and financial security.
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Tags: Health in Maine
Pingree fought successfully for a dramatic increase in funding in the 2014 Farm Bill
August 20th, 2014 · Filed under: Community Maine
Five Maine small businesses would receive a total of $471,571 in federal Value Added Producer Grants from the USDA. Funding for the program has risen dramatically—from $15 million to $63 million over five years—thanks to Pingree’s successful efforts to have an increase included in the 2014 Farm Bill.
“Value Added Producer Grants are critical investments to help small food producers like the ones we have in Maine take their businesses to the next level. These funds allow them to expand their operations, find new markets, and develop new products,” said Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. “I couldn’t be happier that the increased funding will allow more Maine producers to take this opportunity, creating and saving dozens of jobs in the process. It’s exciting to see the new innovations this diverse set of recipients will create with this investment.”
The 2014 Farm Bill, which sets the nation’s agriculture policy every five years, was signed into law by President Obama earlier this year. Pingree wrote and advocated for numerous provisions that will promote local agriculture, sustainable farming, and help young farmers.
The funding is being provided through USDA Rural Development’s Value-Added Producer Grant program.
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Tags: Grants for Maine
August 19th, 2014 · Filed under: Community Maine
Maine State Capitol. Photo by Ramona du Houx
One in seven Americans relies on food pantries and meal service programs, according to a new study from the Feeding America Food Bank Network. Nationwide, that amounts to more than 46 million people, which includes 12 million children, out of a country of 316 million. Hunger has become an epidemic in the U.S.A.
For Maine that means more than 178,000 citizens use food banks to keep alive. The study showed Maine food banks receive an average of 11 visits per year from families. Having to go to a food bank every month, on average, is a significant hardship.
“People are coming back, they’re needing to come back to their local pantry month after month,” said Clara Whitney who is with Maine’s Good Shepherd Food Bank, which is part of Feeding America’s network of food pantries. “Our pantry network has become a huge part of how Maine families are accessing food on a monthly basis.”
About 15 percent of Mainers experience hunger, and that number’s been increasing since Governor Paul LePage was elected four years ago along with significant food stamp cut backs from Congress.
LePage made part of his platform out of cutting back “social services” to those in need while he gave Maine’s 1 percent a hefty tax break. For average homeowners LePage’s policies have led to property tax increases as local towns have had to make up for funds they used to get from former state revenue sharing policies.
Since LePage took office, Maine has experienced a job creation record among the worst in the U.S., ranking 46th out of 50 states in the latest report (July 2014). Additionally, Maine has the 6th highest rate in the country of people who work only part-time because they can’t find full-time jobs.
Under his predecessor, Governor John Bladacci over 310 companies recieved Pine Tree Development Zone Status, a tax incentive program which grew thousands of jobs in the state. The jobless rate was under 7 percent, and the state had a surplus.
Now, with LePage, the state has had the second worst personal income growth record in the U.S., ranking 49th from 2009 through 2013. Plus, median household income is down $1,600 and $4,600 below the U.S. median.
Business Insider and CNBC recently ranked the state among the worst in the nation for business climate.
Tags: Hunger in Maine
August 14th, 2014 · Filed under: Uncategorized
This afternoon, President Obama updated the nation on two issues that he’s been monitoring closely over the past several days — America’s military operations in Iraq, and the situation in Ferguson, Missouri.
Speaking first on Iraq, the President noted the progress the U.S. has made in carrying out “targeted military operations” in the country:
Last week, I authorized two limited missions: protecting our people and facilities inside of Iraq, and a humanitarian operation to help save thousands of Iraqi civilians stranded on a mountain.
A week ago, we assessed that many thousands of Yezidi men, women and children had abandoned their possessions to take refuge on Mount Sinjar in a desperate attempt to avoid slaughter. We also knew that ISIL terrorists were killing and enslaving Yezidi civilians in their custody, and laying siege to the mountain. Without food or water, they faced a terrible choice — starve on the mountain, or be slaughtered on the ground. That’s when America came to help.
Over the last week, the U.S. military conducted humanitarian air drops every night –- delivering more than 114,000 meals and 35,000 gallons of fresh water. We were joined in that effort by the United Kingdom, and other allies pledged support. Our military was able to successfully strike ISIL targets around the mountain, which improved conditions for civilians to evacuate the mountain safely.
Yesterday, a small team of Americans -– military and civilian -– completed their review of the conditions on the mountain. They found that food and water have been reaching those in need, and that thousands of people have been evacuating safely each and every night. The civilians who remain continue to leave, aided by Kurdish forces and Yezidis who are helping to facilitate the safe passage of their families.
“The bottom line,” President Obama said, “is that the situation on the mountain has greatly improved and Americans should be very proud of our efforts.”
Because of the skill and professionalism of our military –- and the generosity of our people –- we broke the ISIL siege of Mount Sinjar; we helped vulnerable people reach safety; and we helped save many innocent lives. Because of these efforts, we do not expect there to be an additional operation to evacuate people off the mountain, and it’s unlikely that we’re going to need to continue humanitarian air drops on the mountain. The majority of the military personnel who conducted the assessment will be leaving Iraq in the coming days. And I just want to say that as Commander-in-Chief, I could not be prouder of the men and women of our military who carried out this humanitarian operation almost flawlessly. I’m very grateful to them and I know that those who were trapped on that mountain are extraordinarily grateful as well.
The President also noted, however, that the situation is still dire for Iraqis that are “subjected to ISIL’s terror throughout the country,” including minorities like Yezidis and Iraqi Christians, as well as Sunnis, Shia, and Kurds.
We’re going to be working with our international partners to provide humanitarian assistance to those who are suffering in northern Iraq wherever we have capabilities and we can carry out effective missions like the one we carried out on Mount Sinjar without committing combat troops on the ground.
We obviously feel a great urge to provide some humanitarian relief to the situation and I’ve been very encouraged by the interest of our international partners in helping on these kinds of efforts as well. We will continue air strikes to protect our people and facilities in Iraq. We have increased the delivery of military assistance to Iraqi and Kurdish forces fighting ISIL on the front lines.
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