Governor’s Environmental and Energy Resources Working Group to Solicit Climate Adaptation Suggestions

May 9, 2014

CONTACT:
Jessamine Logan, Communications Director, jessamine.logan@maine.gov or 287-5842

AUGUSTA- Governor Paul R. LePage’s Environmental and Energy Resources Working Group is convening three listening sessions to solicit suggestions on specific actions that will assist the State in identifying and adopting climate adaption practices or policies.

The Working Group is comprised of the Departments of Environmental Protection (DEP), Marine Resources (DMR), Agriculture Conservation and Forestry (DACF), Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (DIFW) along with the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Governor’s Energy Office.

Part of this effort is convening listening sessions across the state to receive input from stakeholder groups and individuals on how the Departments might create approaches to cross-cutting and multi-agency issues to ensure that unified and consistent information is available to decision-makers.

These agencies are currently involved in a number of climate adaptation activities, including:

• A collaborative project focused on critical tidal marshes, that models the effects of sea-level rise on coastal habitats, has been underway among the DIFW, DACF and several municipalities.

• The Sea-level Adaptation Working Group, a collaboration of DACF and coastal communities to plan for the impacts of sea level rise.

• MaineDOT’s continued collaboration with DIFW’s 'Beginning with Habitat Program’, along with NGOs and Federal Partners, which includes efforts to identify, retain and restore prime habitat for threatened and endangered species to make them less susceptible to climate change.

The listening sessions will be held in Portland on Wednesday, May 14 in rooms 214 and 215 at the Abromson Community Education Center, University of Southern Maine; in Bangor on Wednesday, May 28 at Rangeley Hall, Eastern Maine Community College; and in Houlton on Wednesday, June 11 at DOT's Houlton location at 28 Darcie Drive. Each listening session will provide two opportunities for people to offer their thoughts and ideas, from 2 PM – 4 PM and from 6 PM -8 PM the same evening.

DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho who is chair of the working group said, “We look forward to hearing suggestions that provide specific and identifiable tools to assist decision-makers in Maine’s built and natural environment. Examples of such tools or strategies might include streamlined interagency review, interagency information sharing or consolidated or shared mapping capabilities.”

Attendees are also encouraged to provide answers to the following questions:

-Has a project you have been involved with encountered conflicting guidance or rules from state and federal agencies for the same climate adaptation activity, such as restoring damaged infrastructure;

-Do you have examples of planned climate adaptation activities or suggestions on methods and means to simplify/streamline interagency review;

-Have you encountered an instance where information relevant to an adaptation project you were involved with was held by one state agency and not available to another state agency?

The results of these listening sessions will be summarized and strategic approaches considered to facilitate improved collaboration on climate adaptation among the agencies.

Comments may also be submitted to DEP Sustainability Director George MacDonald at George.MacDonald@maine.gov.

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