While the federal government pulls back from global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, the New England states are considering more aggressive curbs on power plant carbon emissions.
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, is a market-based cap-and-trade program that sets limits on carbon-dioxide emissions in nine states, including all of New England. Power generators can buy and sell emission allowances under the program — which can give a financial boost to cleaner sources such as wind or hydro plants. So far RGGI’s allowance auctions have raised more than $2.5 billion, with the proceeds flowing to the states, and most of them investing heavily in energy efficiency efforts.
“All the evidence points to the fact that RGGI’s working well, it’s been a great success since its inception,” says Peter Shattuck, director of the Clean Energy Initiative at the Acadia Center, an an environmental policy group with offices in Maine and around the northeast.
“[Since RGGI’s 2009 startup] carbon pollution is down 40 percent, electricity prices are down 3 percent, and at the same time [the participating] states’ economies have grown by 25 percent,” he says.
Read and listen to the rest of this story.
BANGOR, Maine — “Welcome home” took on a double meaning Friday for an Air Force command post controller assigned to the Maine Air National Guard Base in Bangor.
Not only did Kyle Eaton finally touch down at Bangor International Airport after his first overseas deployment, he also got his first look at the house he bought — sight unseen — during a six-month stint in an undisclosed location in Southeast Asia.
Eaton, a 2007 Hermon High School graduate who turned 22 last month, bought the tidy white house at 65 Parker St. through the city of Bangor’s recently established Neighborhood Stabilization Program.
Though the program, which was funded through a $1,084,873 grant from the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, the city is able to buy foreclosed or vacant homes which it rehabilitates and sells to income-eligible first-time home buyers, according to Rosie Bradley, assistant director of community development for the city of Bangor.
The Neighborhood Stabilization Program, a new program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, requires that participants incorporate green energy standards to make the homes more efficient and therefore affordable, Bradley noted.
The city so far has resold four homes, has another on the market and is overhauling a sixth, she said.
Though he was on the other side of the world, Eaton was able to surmount the hurdles to homeownership with the help of his father, to whom he granted power of attorney so that the real estate closing could take place.
Click to read more of this story by Dawn Gagnon in the Bangor Daily News and to see photos and video.
Posted in Economy, Energy, Law and Order, Maine
Tagged Bangor, first-time home buyers, foreclosed home, green energy, Kyle Eaton, Maine Air National Guard, Maine Air National Guard Base, Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, Neighborhood Stabilization Program, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, vacant homes
PORTLAND, Maine — Members of a group angry about corporate influence on government has found support from southern Maine labor unions as they close in on a week of camping out in downtown Portland.
The Occupy Maine settlement, a local offshoot of a nationwide network of demonstrations that began in mid-September with Occupy Wall Street, reaches its seventh day Friday, and members say their group is still growing. This weekend, Occupy Maine will celebrate what it’s calling Free Speech Weekend with music, yoga and art making.
Members of the Occupy movement have been calling themselves “the 99 percent,” referring to all those who are not among the 1 percent of the American population who control nearly half of wealth in the country. That 1 percent, occupiers argue, have an unfair amount of influence on federal governance.
“We’re getting bigger and bigger,” said Demi Colby, 23, of Gardiner, who took part in Occupy Wall Street and returned to her home state to help launch Occupy Maine on Saturday, Oct. 1.
Click to read the rest of Seth Koenig’s story in the Bangor Daily News.
Posted in Consumer warnings, Economy, Energy, Law and Order, Maine, Maine history, Politics and government
Tagged Free Speech Weekend, Occupy Maine, Occupy Wall Street, Portland, Wall Street bankers, wealth
Hey there! Hey there! I’m still trying to line up a freelance gig or two for the coming weeks. Please let me know if you are in need or know someone in need of a writer-editor-blogger-dog walker-house-sitter-dishwasher. Cheers!
Posted in Coffeehouse Observer, Consumer warnings, Disaster, Economy, Education and Schools, Energy, Entertainment, Environment, Family and Friends, Food and Drink, Health and Welfare, Journalism, Law and Order, Maine, Maine history, Maine stuff, Maine trivia, News and Newspapers, Newspapers, Outdoors, Photos, Politics and government, Sports
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Ocean energy conference asks: Why not Maine?
Some place will be the home base
of a new energy industry, it could be Maine
Ken Fletcher, the director of Maine’s state energy office, got a chance last week to back away from some earlier statements about the future of offshore wind power.
Fletcher had been quoted expressing skepticism about the LePage administration’s interest in a power source that would be more expensive than the above-average prices Mainers pay already. But Fletcher was reacting to a price target from a demonstration project, not the full-scale offshore wind farm that would be built only if the demonstration were a success. That development is projected to produce competitively priced power by the end of the decade.
Such a negative message coming from the governor’s top energy adviser, on the eve of a national ocean energy conference in Portland, could have been disruptive to an industry that is on the verge of viability after a long period of slow incubation.
Fortunately, Fletcher attended the conference, took part in a panel discussion and moderated his earlier comments. He also made a good point that is worth repeating: It’s not just about the power that you buy.
“The real opportunity we see is though our R&D, manufacturing and assembly,” Fletcher said.
Click to read more of the editorial in the Portland Press Herald.
Most Maine voters are unhappy
with the job Paul LePage
has done so far as governor
AUGUSTA – Most Maine voters think the national media attention that Gov. Paul LePage has drawn in his first four months in office has been bad for the state – including many people who support the work he has done.
And most believe he made the wrong decision in taking down a mural depicting Maine workers in the headquarters of the Department of Labor.
That’s according to a poll commissioned by MaineToday Media to assess how Mainers feel about the job the Republican governor has done since his inauguration on Jan. 5. LePage was elected in November with about 38 percent of the vote.
The poll was conducted from April 25 to May 2 by Pan Atlantic SMS Group, a Portland-based firm owned by Patrick and Victoria Murphy. Victoria Murphy is a former Maine Democratic Party chair. The firm does independent marketing and research.
About 56 percent of the respondents said they have an unfavorable opinion of LePage; about 39 percent said they have a favorable opinion of him. About 5 percent said they do not know.
Click for the rest of the story by Rebekah Metzler in The Maine Sunday Telegram.
When Ed Koch was mayor of New York, he used to walk around the city asking constituents: “How’m I doin’?” We haven’t heard Gov. LePage ask that question in Maine, but we’ve decided to answer it anyway.
According to a poll commissioned by MaineToday Media, LePage is getting mixed reviews from Mainers but a majority of those polled, 56 percent, said they had an unfavorable opinion of the governor. Asked to rate LePage’s job performance, about 55 percent answered “poor” or “very poor.”
Given those basic numbers – detailed poll results are published in today’s paper – the most likely answer to the question, “How’s the governor doin’?” seems to be: “Not so good.”
When more than half the people who look to the governor for leadership don’t like what they see, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that he’s doing something wrong.
Click for the rest of the editorial in The Maine Sunday Telegram.
Posted in Economy, Energy, Environment, Journalism, Law and Order, Maine, News and Newspapers, Politics and government
Tagged Gov. Paul LePage, MaineToday Media, Pan Atlantic SMS Group, poll
[Wind energy is going to be a very vital component to an overall energy plan for the future. I see wind turbines all over California and each time I do I think about just how much foreign oil is NOT being burned because of those towers. Mainers really need to look deep within and realize that we cannot drill, drill, drill our way out of the current energy situation. The planet won’t survive that kind of thoughtlessness. – KM]
Nothing to cheer about in windpower setback: Maine should do a better job indicating where there is room for wind | Portland Press Herald