Baldacci off to D.C. to discuss energy

By Kevin Miller, BDN Staff
Posted Feb. 02, 2010, at 9:01 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. John Baldacci will be among 11 governors meeting with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at the White House today to discuss a broad range of energy issues.

Baldacci spokesman David Farmer said most of the administration’s top officials dealing with energy issues — including at least three Cabinet secretaries and key advisers — are expected to join the president, vice president and governors.

“It’s a great opportunity for the governor to go to Washington, meet with the president and top administration officials and describe all of the good work going on in Maine, and to seek federal support,” Farmer said. “We think it’s a good opportunity to make the case for Maine.”

Among the topics that Baldacci hopes to discuss are federal support for research into deepwater wind turbines in the Gulf of Maine, ways to coordinate state and federal approaches to ocean energy, Maine’s efforts to weatherize homes and businesses as well as potential climate change legislation.

The other governors invited to the meeting are from Vermont, West Virginia, Kentucky, Wyoming, Montana, Tennessee, Washington, Alabama, South Dakota and Ohio.

Maine has already received millions in federal grants for research into offshore wind technology. The state also recently announced that roughly $18 million in federal stimulus money will go toward weatherization and energy efficiency in Maine homes and businesses.

The White House originally invited the group of governors to Washington to talk energy in January, but that meeting had to be rescheduled because of the death of Vice President Biden’s mother.

Baldacci is not the only person bending the ear of top Obama administration officials on energy issues, however.

Last week, Rep. Alexander Cornell du Houx, D-Brunswick, met with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack at the White House as part of a small delegation of state lawmakers from around the country working on energy issues.

Cornell du Houx also met with Carol Browner, Obama’s assistant on energy and climate, and her staff. Both Vilsack and Browner, as well as Energy Secretary Steven Chu, are expected to attend Wednesday’s meeting with the governor.

“The reason for the two meetings is to let the administration know about the hard work Maine has been doing to weatherize every home and to reduce carbon pollution,” he said. On Tuesday, Cornell du Houx was in Washington again as part of another group working on energy security and climate change issues.

http://bangordailynews.com/2010/02/02/politics/baldacci-off-to-dc-to-discuss-energy/ printed on September 23, 2014