Maine’s D.C. delegation raises doubts about fed response to hazardous materials rail shipments

Sen. Susan Collins

If a railroad spilled thousands of gallons of oil in Maine, no one in the state – or in Washington – knows what the railroads would do or if they’re prepared for such a disaster. Members of Maine's congressional delegation say that’s the reason they are pushing federal regulators to strengthen planning, response and mitigation requirements for railroads that transport hazardous materials such as highly flammable crude oil. Continue Reading →

Public advocate reverses position on giant wind energy deal

One of the wind turbines in the Stetson project, Township 8 Range 3, owned by Northeast Wind

The state public advocate’s office, which represents the interests of utility customers in Maine, has withdrawn its opposition to a multimillion-dollar transaction to build wind turbines across Maine and the Northeast.

The move was made, said Public Advocate Timothy Schneider, after his office reviewed its previous position and decided that the deal would neither undermine state utility regulation nor would it threaten ratepayers with higher energy prices. Continue Reading →

Maine fire departments signing up for more rail safety training

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. Continue Reading →

Maine responders need to be better prepared to fight Lac Mégantic-type derailment

Jackman Railroad Photo 2

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.

Continue Reading →