On April 26, 2021, Ben Gilman, general counsel for the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, testified in opposition to LD 1163, An Act To Reduce Pollution by Prohibiting Metallic Mineral Mining, before the Joint Standing Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. We are reprinting his testimony here for your review. If you have any questions, please contact Ben Gilman by calling (207) 838-7564 (mobile) or (207) 623-4568, ext. 108, or by emailing email@example.com.
Creation of Maine Workforce, Research, Development, and Student Achievement Institute would increase access to accurate, current, and relevant data
Informed decisions would eventually lead Maine's economy to rising wages, a growing labor force, and an infusion of new workers and employers looking to benefit from Maine’s opportunities
On April 27, the Maine State Chamber provided testimony to the Joint Standing Committee on Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement and Business (IDEA) on LD 1517, An Act To Establish the Maine Workforce, Research, Development, and Student Achievement Institute. The bill is sponsored by a co-chair of the committee, Sen. Glenn "Chip" Curry (D-Waldo). The purpose of the institute is to provide policymakers with relevant information regarding many economic factors, such as research and development, economic and workforce development, innovation, and student debt. Committee members expressed concerns and asked questions about the cost of the institute. The bill’s sponsor pointed out that the cost would be shared between the state and the organizations represented by the institute’s researchers. The sponsor also discussed how the IDEA committee weighs in on a lot of high-dollar legislation. This institute would provide legislators with the ability to make informed decisions and spend money more appropriately, increasing the overall effectiveness of the IDEA committee’s outcomes.
Efficiency Maine completes first stage of statewide electric vehicle fast-charging network, continues expansion efforts
On April 26, 2021, Efficiency Maine announced the completion of the first phase of an initiative to install a network of universal, publicly accessible electric vehicle (EV) chargers across the state of Maine. Using only funds from the settlement of a federal lawsuit against Volkswagen, this phase of the initiative developed high-speed EV chargers (also called “Level 3” chargers or “DC fast chargers”) on the Maine Turnpike at the Kennebunk plazas (northbound and southbound) and the West Gardiner plaza, as well as in Jackman, Skowhegan, Farmington, and North Windham. A high-speed charger typically can add 200 to 250 miles of range per hour.
On April 28, 2021, ReEnergy Biomass Operations LLC and Ember Infrastructure announced plans to enter into a joint venture to create an industry-leading bioenergy platform. The company will be named ReGenerate Energy and will be led by experienced team members from ReEnergy and Ember. The new company will acquire an ownership interest in ReEnergy’s two biomass power plants in Maine – ReEnergy Stratton and ReEnergy Livermore Falls – and will look to expand the platform through the acquisition of additional bioenergy assets across North America.
With very little fanfare, the Joint Standing Committee on Labor and Housing disposed of five minimum wage related bills at its work session on Wednesday, April 21, 2021. All of the bills had been heard in a public hearing earlier this month, and while each of the bills had seen considerable support from the business community and individual employers, there was in truth little chance the bills would see passage given the makeup of this legislature.
On Tuesday, April 20, the Joint Standing Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs held a public hearing on LD 169, An Act to Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue to Stimulate Investment in Innovation by Maine Businesses to Produce Nationally and Globally Competitive Products and Services, sponsored by Sen. Louis Luchini (D-Hancock).