With the first leg of Maine’s 130th Legislature well underway, environmental advocates are optimistic that the progress made so far in committee work will translate to significant victories on a host of climate priorities this session. The push to pass environmental legislation comes as Maine is already experiencing the impacts of climate change, with much of the state spending large chunks of 2020 in a drought and the Gulf of Maine warming faster than 99% of the world’s oceans.
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State lawmakers and activists are pushing for Maine to create the first, statewide, publicly-owned utility in the United States. Proposed legislation would create a new, nonprofit utility. The Pine Tree Power Company would issue bonds to purchase the assets of the state’s two investor-owned utilities, Central Maine Power, a subsidiary of Avangrid and the state’s largest utility, and Versant Power, formerly known as Emera Maine.
Seaweed has long been a delicacy in Asia, but now scientists see nutritional, economic and environmental benefits to building a robust kelp farming industry here in the United States. Ben Tracy reports.
Tribal communities are directly affected by the impacts of climate change, and many are deeply involved in addressing this global crisis. We speak with indigenous representatives about the challenges presented by a changing climate, and what is being done to ensure the health and well-being of Native American people and lands.
The state is telling Monhegan Island-area lobstermen to remove fishing gear from the path of a survey vessel — or the Marine Patrol will. That’s after the Department of Marine Resources determined that there is enough gear in that area to prevent the vessel from doing its work.
The winds and airs currents swirling around the oceans of this blue marble have the potential to power our cities and towns. And locally in coastal New England, the race to harness the power of coastal wind has been accelerating.
Central Maine Power’s most recent debacle, attempting to charge solar developers millions more for grid interconnections despite signed contracts, was shocking but not surprising from a utility that has sought for decades to undermine renewable power.
Freshman legislator Rep. Grayson Lookner (D-Portland) has put forward a bill this session that could fundamentally shift the way that the state of Maine legislates climate change. Entitled, “An Act Requiring Climate Impact Notes on Proposed Legislation,” the bill would require the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to prepare a climate note for any and all legislation passing through Augusta.