AUGUSTA- Ever since a crude oil train disaster decimated a Quebec village’s downtown last July, more and more Maine fire departments have been requesting training on rail safety.
“I’m booking right now straight into November,” said Richard Towle, who coordinates such training as a law enforcement liaison for the Federal Rail Administration.
The catastrophe at Lac-Mégantic took center stage at this week’s state emergency responder conference at the Augusta Civic Center when a panel of Lac-Mégantic officials emphasized the need for better support for the firefighters and police officers on the ground of a disaster.
Almost ten months ago, a runaway train carrying crude oil derailed in the small Quebec town ten miles from the Maine border. Thousands of gallons of the highly flammable crude oil spilled from ruptured tank cars, setting off fireballs in the town’s center that killed 47 people and destroyed 30 buildings.
Eight months ago, the people of Lac-Mégantic thought the world was ending.
A runaway 72-car train carrying a volatile variety of crude oil derailed and exploded in this community of 6,000, killing 47 people and destroying the town center.
Less than a year ago, a runaway train carrying crude oil derailed in Lac-Mégantic, a small Quebec town ten miles from the Maine border.
Thousands of gallons of the highly flammable crude oil spilled from ruptured tank cars, setting off fireballs in the town’s center that killed 47 people and destroyed 30 buildings. Some bodies were likely vaporized and never identified.
"Studying these key issues will allow legislators to make better policy decisions about critical health care, education, and natural resource challenges facing our state." WHO SAID IT
Speaker of the Maine House Rep. Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, on April 15, 2014. BACKGROUND
Eves’ statement was in a press release boasting that the Legislative Council had approved 11 studies on topics from expanding legalized gambling to paying for college tuition to ending student hunger to the effects of “ocean acidification on commercial shellfish.” The Council is the administrative body of the legislature; its members come from the leadership of both parties. Because Democrats dominate the legislature this session, six of the 10 members are D’s. THE FACTS
While no one could object to lawmakers getting more information on a topic, the record shows that “send it to a study committee” is a time-tested way to avoid a touchy problem. Continue Reading →
Two of the state’s most prominent anti-wind activists and the non-profit organization they run are under investigation by Maine Attorney General Janet Mills for alleged conflicts of interest that may have benefitted them financially at the expense of the organization. Continue Reading →
State Sen. Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, a candidate for Congress, tried to get a billed passed in the current legislative session to reverse a state fine and settlement against a constituent who had bulldozed 200 feet of vegetation along a shoreline where he had built a three-bedroom home. The bill was killed in committee when the state attorney general's office questioned its constitutionality. Continue Reading →
That’s the question being asked by regulators, utilities and representatives of one of the biggest business deals to hit the state in a long time, after Maine’s high court invalidated regulatory approval of that deal.
The deal is a complex transaction, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, to build wind turbines across the region. Continue Reading →
A 2012 deal worth hundreds of millions of dollars to expand wind energy projects across the Northeast was dealt a blow Tuesday by the Maine supreme court, which ruled that a state agency's approval of the complex deal was invalid. The transaction included prominent wind developer First Wind, Maine utility companies Bangor Hydro and Maine Public Service and Nova Scotia-based electric utilities owner Emera, Inc. Continue Reading →
"Today, all we are asking -- and expecting -- is for the adults to have a conversation about the hungry children at their school, in their community. Today, we are asking schools who already offer summer programming like a rec program, to consider whether a summer food program is right for them." WHO SAID IT
Maine state Senate President Justin Alfond in a speech on the floor of the Senate on Feb. 11
"This bill presents an irresponsible unfunded mandate." WHO SAID IT
Gov. Paul LePage in his Jan. Continue Reading →
"... the Pine Tree Development Zone (PTDZ) program demonstrates the importance of competitive tax policy for new and growing companies leading to the creation and/or retention of nearly 10,000 jobs that could have landed in other states ..." WHO SAID IT
The state Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) in a press release, Feb. 2, 2014. BACKGROUND
The statement from DECD refers to a section of the just-released “Comprehensive Evaluation of Maine’s Economic Development Incentive Programs.” Such programs have been in the news in recent years because critics say they cost the state millions of dollars each year while there is scant evidence of their cost-effectiveness. Continue Reading →
Put an addition on your house, and the town assessor will come around, increase the value of your house and your property taxes will go up. Get a TIF, and you, too, have to pay taxes on that new warehouse or factory – but the taxes don’t help pay for the schools, plowing and cops. Continue Reading →