Recent Stories

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 St. 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 St. 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 vetoed the bill that would have barred legislators from paying themselves or family members with PAC money they controlled

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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LePage, utilities commissioner at odds over ethics

David Littell, PUC commissioner

Gov. Paul LePage has rejected Public Utilities Commissioner David Littell's decision to recuse himself from voting on a case involving bottled water giant Nestle Waters and the Fryeberg Water Co. Littell claims he has a conflict of interest because he previously worked at a Portland law firm that represented Nestle and the water company. Lepage says that isn't enough to disqualify him for voting on the case. Continue Reading →

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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 →

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