Solid Waste Disposal Emergency; Public Transportation; Labor Relations on land and at sea; Tribal Sovereignty

This page covers various issues I am active in, or would support legislation for. District 136 Voters are likely affected by one or more of these also.

Public Transportation

Mainers are impeded by an acute lack of public transportation to work, medical appointments, and shopping. District 136 is such a location. In harmony with upcoming Climate Council mandates, I support funding existing propane-fueled bus systems like Island Explorer to add to their vehicle fleet and provide 30 minute service intervals. I also support installing an eastern county vehicle maintenance and storage facility that would serve Steuben and western Washington county. providing additional employment. Routes to Machias and Ellsworth should begin and enlarge, and the routes to Bangor would be funded to travel routes 179 and 180. Getting citizens familiar with the increased public transit availibilty would be done by TV and Radio ads. Eventually, the public bus transportation system should be funded to replace propane-powered vehicles with electricity-powered vehicles. Construction of charging stations to accommodate busses that the public could also use would be part of upcoming transportation bonds.

If the legislature is approached to partially fund passenger rail service to Bangor, I would support it. It could be used as a commuter train from Augusta to Waterville, Waterville to Bangor, etc. Take a day trip from Bangor to Portland and be home later, don’t worry about driving at night or deer in the road!

Finance Authority of Maine funds Fiberight

Fiberight received $70 million in project financing for its Hampden, ME facility. $45 million came from a tax-exempt bond issuance from the Finance Authority of Maine, underwritten by Jefferies LLC. The remaining $25 million came from private equity. Read my vision of Labor Relations below, which sends taxpayer dollars to Mainers directly, not multinational corporations that take the $$ and run.

Labor Relations

Here is contact info for where to request assistance in applying for the US Department of Agriculture seafood industry reimbursement payments during the period of September 14 to December 14.

PENOBSCOT/HANCOCK COUNTY OFFICE
Valerie Porter, CED
Janice Ramirez, FLM
1423 Broadway, Suite 1
Bangor, ME 04401
Tel: (207) 947-3555 Fax: (855) 589-1057
Email: Valerie.porter@usda.gov
Janice.ramirez@usda.gov

Maine needs to continue growing a sense of purpose in its workers in order to release them from continual anxiety over how they will generate income. A worker’s coop is a just and equitable platform for sustainable operations. I support investing FAME $$ in cooperative ventures like a seaweed acquaculture or Hemp Packaging Plant that will employ Mainers in the cultivation of the plant material and that will greatly minimize plastic intrusion on our ecosystems. An operation that could be powered by properly-sited alternative energy sources, and employ citizens for generations like paper mills do. Hemp packages can be recycled in compost. Compost can be distributed to community gardens and cooperative greenhouses that will feed hundreds in all seasons. Hemp packages can be sold to agricultural products producers to create circular benefits of the one major FAME investment. The legislature could assist in making a job a more meaningful part of life by cultivating labor relations and union scale benefits, to where workers see their labor as a benefit to the community directly.

Tribal Relations

Tribes in Maine carry on their legacy of protecting natural resources that all Mainers benefit from in some way. This 129th Legislature worked on LD2094, a bill to restore crucial aspects of Tribal Sovereignty that were removed when President Carter signed the Indian Claims Settlement Act in 1980. This bill remained in committee when the legislature adjourned under the COVID-19 state of public health emergency. If it is carried over, I will support all provisions the Task Force that created it recommended to the legislature.

Landfilling, District 136 State of Emergency

This is a complex subject so I will compress my thoughts into one paragraph as an overview.

Residents of Mariaville; Townships 7, 9, and 10; Sullivan; Sorrento, and Steuben are currently landfilling their Municipal Solid Waste(MSW) at Crossroads or Juniper Ridge Landfills. This includes waste that may contain COVID-19 virus. Your officials didn’t contract with Municipal Recovery Corporation for this kind of service. When the Fiberight Waste Processing Plant closed, your waste hauling contract with MRC forced MSW to these landfills. State Law and Governor’s Executive Order to incinerate at PERC because of COVID contamination are being ignored. This toxic dumping, violation of statute, and breach of contract has to stop immediately. I have notified various media outlets to hopefully publicize this, and I hope you reading this will join my call to your town officials to haul their MSW to PERC incinerator.

Legislation is needed to mandate an Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability into Department of Environmental Protection Actions on Waste Swap agreements between MRC and PERC. The DEP should be involved in the contracting between these entities and how contracting relates to the Orders it issues.

On September 17th, the Board of Environmental Protection will hear related rule change petition language that will label Maine Waste as materials for which the original point of discard is located within the State of Maine. This hearing was petitioned by 250 signatures, of which the first 50 came from the combined signatures of Hancock and Lamoine.

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