The state’s top political leaders agree on one thing: Maine’s economic future depends on developing the so-called “green” economy. The strategy, being pushed by President Barack Obama, is aimed at breaking the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels, especially imported oil. Governor John Baldacci says it’s a strategy Maine is already pursuing.
“The pellet initiative was important, That’s why the cellulosic ethanol and the bio-refineries are important, that’s why the wind, onshore and offshore, is important — trying to generate not only the energy here, but also the jobs here,” Baldacci told Capitol News Service. “We’re sending this money overseas to countries who are probably our worst enemies.”
Members of the state’s congressional delegation agree: They joined the Governor in seeking federal aid for an offshore wind research center at the University of Maine, and all have supported legislation to encourage development of renewable energy sources, and conservation efforts to reduce energy needs.
Baldacci says 80 percent of the fuel for transportation and home heating in Maine is derived from imported fossil fuels. Sen. Susan Collins says an offshore wind research center at UMaine would benefit not only the state, but all of New England. Sen. Olympia Snowe says the nation needs to provide sufficient incentives to inspire the kind of innovation that could lead to a green economy.