Elected officials, military personal, and citizens unite for climate change legislation

Governor John Baldacci joined Portland Mayor Nick Mavadones, General Donald Edwards, commercial fisherman, environmentalists and state representatives in Portland for Operation- Free, Repower America and the Coast Guard. Far right, Rep. Alex Cornell du Houx, who expanded Operation Free and traveled with Veterans across America on a bus to spread its mission that using oil is a national security threat. Photo by Ramona du Houx

March 29, 2010

By Ramona du Houx

Portland, ME – On March 25th, Governor John Baldacci joined Portland Mayor Nick Mavadones, General Donald Edwards, commercial fisherman, and environmentalists at a press conference to thank the US Coast Guard, and all involved agencies, for their efforts in preparing for an “oil spill of national significance” (SONS).

The two-day drill brought together more than 600 local, State, federal and commercial partners for the training.

“This partnership and the preparation of our government agencies are essential to ensure the safety of the public, our environment and our economy in the event of an oil spill in our waters,” said Governor Baldacci.

The group also called on Congress to take action on comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation that will lessen our dependence on foreign oil, create jobs in Maine, and lessen the possibility a disaster on Maine’s coast. The press event, sponsored by Repower Maine, was held at the Ocean Gateway overlooking the Casco Bay, an important commercial, fishing, tourism and recreational site.

“Dependence on unstable foreign energy is dangerous for our economy, environment and national security,” said Governor John Baldacci. “In Maine, we are proud to lead the way toward a new energy future. This is a vital step that holds the promise of a more stable and secure energy supply that is renewable and homegrown, creating jobs right here in our State.”

“The Pentagon has recognized that dependence on foreign sources for oil is a national security threat. We need to take control of our energy future for our national security. We put our men and women in harms way for oil interests in the Middle East only to see that oil money fund terrorists,” said Gen. Edwards. “It’s wrong and it must stop.”

Gen. Edwards is part of Operation Free—a coalition of veterans and national security organizations that are working together to raise awareness about how national security and climate change are related.

Last year the Legislature passed the Governor’s comprehensive energy package, An Act Regarding Maine’s Energy Future, which establishes the goal to reduce the State’s consumption of liquid fossil fuels by at least 30 percent by 2030.

In late March the Utilities and Energy Committee gave unanimous support for the Governor’s bill to implement the recommendations of the his Ocean Energy Task Force.

“We have the energy resources – in our wind, wood, water and with solar power – to break away from the crippling dependency on costly foreign oil,” said the Governor. “We have also received great support from President Obama and our entire Maine Congressional Delegation to get potential projects moving quickly so that we can achieve our goals to make Maine safer, more economically and environmentally secure, and grow good paying jobs right here at home.”

The Natural Resources Council of Maine released a letter, in March, with the signatures of more than 500 Maine businesses urging Maine’s U.S. senators to support a climate-change bill.

“We urge you to do all you can to ensure that the United States acts swiftly and effectively in 2010 to address the threat of global warming,” the letter said. “Now is the time for leadership. Maine people are counting on you to help.”

The Maine businesses that signed on included: Hannaford Bros. Inc., Lee Auto Malls, Oakhurst Dairy and Mattson Development.