Energy

Recent Stories

DEP to make oil train data public again

The DEP will resume releasing data on oil and other hazardous materials moving on Maine rails.

The Department of Environmental Protection will resume releasing data on oil rail shipments in Maine, reversing a five-month policy that kept the information out of the public eye.

Just last month, the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting filed a Freedom of Access Act request for the monthly data. The DEP, acting on the advice of the Attorney General's office, decided that the oil data summaries were not covered by a new and controversial law that meant to make hazardous material rail shipments secret. Continue Reading →

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Legislature sidestepped records law to end public access to oil train data

The DEP will resume releasing data on oil and other hazardous materials moving on Maine rails.

A 2015 law that ended the public's right to know about hazardous freight on Maine railways sidestepped normal legislative processes, ignored federal policies and overcame a gubernatorial veto. Now even the law's sponsor agrees it needs to be changed. Continue Reading →

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Maine’s future with Irving

Illustration by Joe Strassler

If the giant, ever-growing Irving corporations were to have a larger presence in Maine, what effects might there be on Mainers' daily life? Our final story in this three-part series looks at the Irving companies' growing domination of Aroostook County and Maine politics and the corporate giant's potential effects in Maine's marketplace, in the state's political world and, possibly, in the news media. Continue Reading →

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Irving lost mining battle, but history says Canadian corporate giant will not give up

Oil tanks at the Irving Oil refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick.

"Expansion is the thing" was the motto of K.C. Irving, the twentieth-century tycoon who created the Irving family empire. An investigation by the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting of the Irving-family domination of its New Brunswick homeland and of its growing economic and political influence in Maine suggests that this is still its motto — and that Maine is its expansion target. Continue Reading →

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New Brunswick, Irving company province

J D. Irving headquarters (tan building on left) dominates Saint John, New Brunswick, where an Irving Oil sign stands at an entrance to the city.

Several books and a Canadian-government report have noted that the Irving family business' power over the province of New Brunswick is probably unparalleled in the developed world. Our reporter, Lance Tapley, spent a number of days in the province, getting an unusual tour of the Irving refinery, and talking with both critics and supporters of Irving’s influence in the province. Continue Reading →

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Legislature and LePage agree: rural residents given right to question wind turbines

A crane operator from Reed & Reed lowers the top tower section while building wind turbines at the Record Hill Wind Energy Farm in Roxbury in 2011 Photo: Daryn Slover, Sun Journal

Gov. LePage and the legislature have found something to agree on: restoring the right of residents in rural Maine to have a say in the siting of wind turbines in their portion of the Unorganized Territories. The governor has signed a bill doing that after it was sent to him by the legislature. Continue Reading →

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LD 1750: A study in how special interests get their way in the Maine legislature

Photo: John Christie

As the new legislative session opens this week in Augusta, the tale of what became in the most recent session a bill called L. D. 1750 — “An act to amend the Maine Administrative Procedure Act and clarify wind energy laws” — is a case study in how special interests hold sway in the legislature. Continue Reading →

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LePage, utilities commissioner conflict over conflicts only partially resolved

Gov. Paul LePage

A conflict over ethics between Gov. Paul LePage and a member of the state’s Public Utilities Commission has been settled in the short term, but threatens to produce more controversy over the long term. Continue Reading →

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