Pingree reintroduces bipartisan legislation to protect working waterfronts

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree has reintroduced bipartisan legislation with Republican Congressman Rob Wittman of Virginia to protect the kind of waterfront access and infrastructure that many businesses—and thousands of jobs—depend on in Maine. The objectives of Pingree’s bill, the Keep America’s Waterfronts Working Act (HR 1176), are two-fold.

Island life is hard enough without Maine regulators opposing deals to lower electricity costs

On Jan. 18, the Maine Public Utilities Commission made a decision that raises critical questions about how rural communities across the state receive and pay for electricity.
In a 2-1 vote, the commission denied Emera Maine’s request to acquire the Swan’s Island Electric Cooperative, a deal that would have provided more affordable electricity service to the Swan’s Island and Frenchboro communities.

Iconic Maine Photos: An Offbeat Errand, Now a Revered Image

Down East Magazine scoured 175 years worth of images to find the 10 Most Iconic Maine Photos of All Time. Acclaimed to obscure, joyful to haunting, they’re the shots that tell Maine’s story. Peter Ralston’s stories have stories. That’s how it feels, anyway, when you walk into the 66-year-old photographer’s Rockport gallery, intending to talk about a single exquisite image from 1980, but instead you end up — delightedly — following a series of digressions upon digressions, road tales from a decades-long career in photojournalism.

Four films focus on changing coastal climate

The future of fisheries and the changing ocean in the Gulf of Maine and elsewhere are explored in four short films to be screened at College of the Atlantic’s Gates Community Center on Thursday, Jan. 19, at 6:30 p.m.
The free screening of the films, produced by The Island Institute, will be followed by a question-and-answer session with Island Institute marine scientist Susie Arnold and University of Maine doctoral student Sam Belknap.

Weatherize Rockland — Five Reasons to Sign Up

Do you have one of those leaky homes? If so, the Rockland Energy Committee’s Weatherize Rockland initiative can help you. Weatherize Rockland is helping local residents sign up for energy assessments, air sealing, insulation, and other energy services at discounts of up to 95%. Here are five reasons to sign up, or partner with home performance agencies in your area, to save money and make your home more energy efficient year round.

Chebeague Island shoreline attracts new grower of seaweed

The waters off Chebeague Island will be even greener than usual this winter.
Shearwater Ventures is moving in, joining another company, Portland-based Ocean Approved, in growing and harvesting seaweed in Casco Bay.
Nathan Johnson, who started Shearwater last year, just signed a state lease on nearly 4 acres of seabed. Johnson intends to grow sugar kelp, his foray into the $5 billion worldwide kelp industry.

Comfort, if not safety, in numbers as towns face climate change

On Friday, December 9th, the Island Institute co-hosted GrowSmart Maine’s December Smart Growth Forum, “Sea Level Rise: Practical Tools and Community Implementation,” at our Rockland offices. In this community contributed piece, Phil Crossman, a Vinalhaven resident and selectmen, offers a recap of the event. For more information, including speaker presentations, visit the GrowSmart Maine event page.

Consider the Lobster and Electricity: Helping Meet the Energy Challenges of Maine’s Small Islands

Most island communities do not have economies of scale or local fossil fuel resources, two key factors contributing to significant increases in energy costs relative to mainland peers. A case in point is two islands located off the coast of Maine—Isle au Haut and Monhegan, both of which are currently weighing their energy futures. The Energy Department and EERE are helping to address those challenges through the Energy Transition Initiative (ETI), which provides technical assistance and resources to support communities that want to achieve clean energy goals and in the transition to a clean energy economy.