Congressman Baldacci speaks
At a lecture held Monday evening entitled "Meeting Maine's Environmental
Needs," Congressman John Baldacci discussed environmental policy
in Maine. The talk was given at Bowdoin College as part of his campaign
for governor of Maine.
Baldacci said that Maine must lead by example by preserving its natural
legacy and by becoming the gold standard by which other states compare
"The natural world around us in Maine, and the way we use it, shape
what we know as Maine's way of life," said Baldacci. "My overall
goal is nothing less that to preserve our natural legacy, to undo past
damage and to build a truly sustainable Maine way of life."
As governor, Baldacci promises to achieve this vision by addressing three
fundamental issues: constantly improving the quality of Maine's environment,
ensuring the Maine people's continuing access to these natural wonders,
and protecting the enduring connection between Maine's environment and
our state's economic well-being.
According to Baldacci, improving the quality of Maine's environment entails
the following: reducing pollution from sources such as dirty power plants
both within and outside Maine, establishing a goal of state government
buying at least fifty percent of its electricity from reasonably priced
renewable power sources, and encouraging Maine people and the State of
Maine to purchase fuel-efficient, low-emissions cars and light trucks.
Baldacci also stressed wiser recycling practices, saying that forty percent
of municipal solid waste in Maine is recycled. While this is respectable,
Baldacci promises to meet Maine's goal of fifty percent recycling of solid
waste statewide in four years time.
As for ensuring Maine people's continuing access to natural wonders,
Baldacci plans to encourage sustainable forest practices by building markets
for green-certified lumber and forest products, advocate a new 100 million
dollar Land for Maine's Future Bond, and explore creative options for
using state policy to encourage landowners to preserve the Maine countryside,
including the North Woods, while preserving natural resource-based jobs.
Maine's environment is also highly connected to its economic well-being,
according to the congressman. He promises to help forest and farming sectors
develop value-added products and to focus energy, effort and investment
on Maine's environmental businesses to help grow them into national leaders
in their fields and into major Maine employers. Maine's hands-off approach
to businesses has not worked, and Baldacci says that energy conservation
is both common sense and a tool for economic development.
The congressman was optimistic but cautious as he looked to the future,
pointing out the alarming prediction that by the year 2050 all of coastal
Maine will be considered urban or suburban.
But Baldacci said reassuringly, "We can best protect our environment
by doing less damage in the first place." With his vision and the
means by which he promises to achieve that vision, the future of Maine's
natural legacy does not look so bleak.
Baldacci is a native of Maine, has served in the United States Congress since 1994, and before that was a Maine State Senator beginning in 1982.