Tag Archives: Gov. Janet Mills

With bill’s passage, lobster industry welcomes 6-year break from new regulations

Hours before a stopgap spending measure was set to expire, Congress voted to pass the $1.7 trillion omnibus package to fund the government through September 2023. The package passed in the Senate Thursday afternoon with a large bipartisan majority, 68-29. Maine’s delegation was able to include a rider in the package that protects lobstermen for six years from rules that the industry says would decimate the state’s iconic fishery and coastal economy. The provision essentially reverses a federal court decision this summer on new lobstering regulations by preventing them from taking effect until Dec. 31, 2028. >click to read< 09:14

Maine Pols Brag About Stopping Unscientific Lobster Regs in Monsterous $1.7T Omnibus Bill

Maine’s Congressional Delegation and Gov. Janet Mills gave themselves a hearty pat on the back Tuesday for convincing Members of Congress to temporarily halt an unscientific regulatory crusade on the Maine lobstering industry. Maine’s Congressional Delegation has in recent years also voted to massively increase NOAA’s funding, meaning Maine lawmakers helped fund the very crusade they’re now bragging about halting, temporarily. All told, NOAA’s funding has increased by more than $6 billion since President Joe Biden took office, all with the support of Maine’s elected officials. >click to read< 11:09

Lobster more than a Maine event

The headline said that Whole Foods would no longer be selling Maine lobster in its stores. My first reaction was to wonder what the lowly, although expensive crustacean had done to warrant such action from Whole Foods usually described as an upscale grocery chain that is owned by Amazon and as such is a part of the Jeff Bezos’ empire. To add insult to injury the California based Monterey Bay Aquarium through its environment focused seafood watch went and “red listed” Maine lobsters. I guess that means shipments of Maine lobsters will be stopped at the California border. I wonder if that includes the border with Mexico where just about anything gets through? Obviously, the Maine lobstering industry is up in arms over all this. >click to read< By Thomas Kirkpatrick Sr 12:56

The fight to protect right whale, lobsters roils Maine politics

In a state where few things matter more than lobster, it’s no surprise that Mainers are getting a hefty portion of crustacean politics as part of the campaigning for the 2022 midterm elections. What is surprising, however, is the high level of anger and frustration pointed squarely at Washington regulators, with many arguing that NOAA’s new rules are unfair and will hit the prized lobster industry far too hard. Rule backers say they’ll help protect a dwindling population of whales that’s at grave risk from fishing gear. “The men and women who make up Maine’s iconic lobster fishery are facing a terrible crisis, a crisis not of their making, a crisis that is due to this administration’s onerous regulations,” photos, >click to read< 12:11

Maine lobstermen fight back – ‘You have failed us’: Maine lobstermen face federal regulators

Maine lobstermen came face to face with federal officials out to impose stricter new rules to save the 350 remaining endangered right whales Wednesday. There have only been two whale entanglements in Maine, most recently in 2004, and no right whale deaths caused by Maine lobster gear. Despite that, NOAA insists these rules are necessary to further reduce the risk of a right whale death. >click to read< ‘You have failed us’: Maine lobstermen face federal regulators – There were some tense moments during a public hearing with Maine lobstermen and federal regulators Wednesday night a the University of Southern Maine in Portland.  The meeting comes after Gov. Janet Mills and members of Maine’s congressional delegation requested NOAA visit the state to discuss tougher rules on the lobster industry. >click to read< 07:51

Maine Elected Officials Rebuke “Seafood Watch” But Stay Silent on Endangered Species Act’s Threat to Lobstermen

Maine lobster was recently placed on the unsustainable “red list” by the environmental group Seafood Watch, a non-profit associated with the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Gov. Janet Mills, Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, and Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden all came out in defense of the Maine lobster industry, defending its sustainability bona fides. It was a nice photo op, but the truth is King, Collins, and Pingree had plenty of warnings that the environmental left was using the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to damage Maine’s economy and sovereignty. They chose to do nothing. >click to read< 09:14

Island’s fate tied to fishing, residents say: “I think we’re being pushed out”

Make way for windmills. That was one of the worries aired by Deer Isle-Stonington fishermen and small business owners who attended a breakfast economic development meeting at the Stonington town office Friday. A few residents and small business owners said they think the fishing industry is being pushed out to make room for windmills, thus further advancing green energy agendas that Governor Janet Mills and the federal government have adopted. Mike Shepard said he started fishing at age 10 in a “little outboard.” “I’m almost 70 now,” the lobsterman said. “I fished all my life out here. All that time I’ve been fishing. I’ve never seen a whale. It has nothing to do with the whale, it has to do with what they want to do with our waters out here. They want to go green and it’s killing the lobster industry, which is our way of life.” >click to read<  19:36

Maine’s leaders seek more time on whale protection rules

Maine Gov. Janet Mills is seeking to delay new federal whale protection rules, citing fears the state’s commercial lobstermen won’t be able to comply. In a letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Mills urges federal fisheries regulators to extend the period for collecting public comment on the new regulations, which are aimed at protecting critically endangered north Atlantic right whales by setting a seasonal closure and requiring modifications to gear. Mills said she believes it is “unconscionable” that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration only plans to hold one remote public hearing on the new regulations, which call for reducing by 90% the number of Atlantic Coast fixed gear fisheries, including lobster industry. >click to read< 15:14

Maine lobstermen, politicians rally in protest of fishing restrictions and Seafood Watch’s recommended boycott

At a rally in Portland’s Old Port on Friday, they protested a federal judge’s ruling issue Thursday allowing the National Marine Fisheries Service, a branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association to impose limits on where and how lobstermen fish in order to protect endangered North Atlantic Right Whales. The rally was also protesting Seafood Watch, a California-based sustainable seafood advocacy group affiliated with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, now recommending food distributors and restaurants boycott Maine lobster in the name of saving the whales. Video, >click to read< 09:55

Lobstermen worry looming deadline for new regulations comes ‘too soon’ to change gear

At the beginning of the year, Maine lobstermen were having a hard time finding the new gear that is being required to help protect right whales. Though suppliers are now starting to see these new weak ropes and links come in, they haven’t received a flurry of new orders despite the looming spring implementation date. Starting on May 1, lobstermen, depending on where they fish, will have to have ropes running from their buoys to traps that can break with 1,700 pounds of force, or have inserts in the line that allow it to snap easier should a whale ever get entangled in them. >click to read< 11:15

Supply chain issues? Maine lobstermen can’t find gear to comply with new federal regulations

David Tarr, a Brooklin lobsterman, has called around to supply stores and they’re not sure when the gear is supposed to come in, possibly in a couple months. “We can’t get the things that will meet their criteria,” he said. The Maine Department of Marine Resources has received numerous reports that there isn’t a sufficient supply of approved ropes or weak links, a spokesperson said. The department plans to share the reports with federal regulators so they’re aware of the potential challenges with fishery-wide compliance. >click to read< 07:55

151 Maine legislators call on Biden to rescind new lobster fishing reg’s, while the real threat remains

State legislators have submitted a letter to President Joe Biden requesting (DEMAND!) that his administration take steps to immediately rescind new regulations on lobster fishing. The new regulations, which are intended to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale,,, Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham, R-Winter Harbor, a lobster fisherman, initiated the letter. Maine Senate President Troy Jackson also criticized the new reg’s,, “The new federal regulations are an affront to the men and women who have made a living on Maine’s working waterfront for generations,,, I’m deeply disappointed that NOAA has decided to dismiss the voices of Maine’s lobstering workforce and chosen to go ahead with damaging regulations that do nothing more than hurt our fishermen, while the real threat to right whales remains, Canadian ships.” Video, >click to read< 16:03

About that “seat at the table”,,, New England Aqua Ventus Monhegan project a concern for fishermen

Boothbay region fishermen and community members are expressing concern over the New England Aqua Ventus project, a floating offshore wind turbine to be built two miles south of Monhegan. NEAV is a partnership between Maine Prime Technologies – a business arm of the University of Maine – and wind industry giants Diamond Offshore Wind, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi, and RWE Renewables.,,, “Now I sit on this panel and I’m being asked ‘How can we do this better’ even though I’m being told it’s still going to happen … Boothbay lobsterman Eben Wilson, “People have been telling me it’s such a great opportunity to have a seat at the table, and I’m like, a seat at the table? For what? To tell them how to cut my throat better? Or how to cut it slower?” >click to read< 09:02

Mills signs offshore wind ban amid lingering skepticism from fishermen

LD 1619, sponsored by Sen. Mark Lawrence (D-Eliot), stipulates new offshore wind developments are permanently prohibited in state waters, but will be permitted in federal waters if, by March 2023, the Governor’s Energy Office develops and proposes a planned research strategy,, Her original plans were met with protest from hundreds of Maine lobstermen who warned of the potentially disastrous impacts new, non-researched wind power developments would have on Maine’s fishing industry. Even now, the law has been met with some criticism. >click to read< 13:52

Lobstermen Protest Offshore Wind Farm in the Gulf of Maine

An ambitious wind power project in the Gulf of Maine could, years from now, make these family lobster dinners less frequent. Local lobstermen believe offshore wind will significantly disrupt the ecosystem and displace fishermen. Supporters say a project will provide clean energy for the region.,,  “When you think of Maine, lobster’s the first thing that comes to mind,” Dustin Delano, a fourth-generation lobsterman and the Vice President of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, told me a story about fishermen from the United Kingdom coming to Maine a few years ago to discuss the windmill arrays which had been recently installed where they fish. One Mainer asked, “What would you do if you were us right now?” An English fisherman leaned over the table and said, “Fight it with everything you have, because you have everything to lose and absolutely nothing to gain.” >click to read< 17:04

‘How do we stop it?’ – Lobstermen voice concerns over wind farm development in meeting with regulators

The state Gov. Janet Mills is telling Monhegan Island-area lobstermen to remove fishing gear from the path of a survey vessel, or the Marine Patrol will.,, In text and email messages sent to lobstermen Wednesday morning, DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher says he has been directed to ask the state Marine Patrol to move gear away from the route if the vessel is unable to continue its work. He also says DMR is working with the vessel to make sure it keeps its operations within a defined pathway. Keliher and other officials in Gov. Janet Mills’ administration did not immediately return requests for comment. >click to read< 10:02

Maine Fishermen oppose offshore wind as alternative energy option – Support LD 101

“There’s so many different reasons to oppose it,” said Jack Merrill, a resident of Mount Desert and a member of the Cranberry Isles Fishermen’s Co-op,,, In an effort to meet Maine’s requirement of 80 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and the goal of 100 percent by 2050, there is a project being proposed to research offshore wind energy by installing up to 12 floating wind turbines in a 16-square-mile area, 20-40 miles off the coast. “By removing thousands of acres of bottom from fishing access, these turbines threaten the economic health of Maine’s second largest industry,,, >click to read< 13:48

Morro Bay: Fishing Industry Opposes New Floating Wind Farm Project Area – Tom Hafer, president of the 90-member Morro Bay Commercial Fishermen’s Organization, criticized the proposal, saying it amounted to a “bait and switch.” >click to read<

Maine fishermen plead for the public’s support

Gov. Janet Mills’ LD 994 law required the Public Utilities Commission to approve an experimental offshore wind farm with Maine Aqua Ventus/Diamond Offshore Wind. The research array would be up to 40 miles in size in prime fishing areas. Some see this as a step in the right direction for the environment; others, including many fishermen, fear it will do just the opposite. Some fishermen voiced concerns during a recent series of webinars. According to Dustin Delano, another meeting was scheduled, yet cancelled last minute by Diamond Offshore CEO Chris Wissemann, who said he would not be speaking if “certain fishermen” were involved. photos, >click to read< 14:52

Maine Gov. Janet Mills expresses ‘grave concern’ over plans to protect North Atlantic right whales

“The survival of Maine’s iconic lobster fishery, and in fact, our heritage, through the future of Maine’s independent lobstermen and women, depend on your willingness to act,” Mills wrote in a letter filed with the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration on Feb. 19. Mills called on NOAA to develop “practical solutions” that protect right whales but allow fishing to continue.,,, Two public hearings to consider amendments to NOAA’s Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan. Those virtual hearings will be held Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. for southern Maine and Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. for northern Maine. Both will last about two hours and require pre registration https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4167147282087010060. Anyone unable to participate in the virtual hearings can submit comments to NOAA by March 1. >click to read< 09:54

Maine Governor proposes offshore wind farm moratorium

Gov. Janet Mills on Monday proposed a 10 year moratorium (just say no!) on new offshore wind projects in state-managed waters and other actions aimed at calming concerns among the fishing industry about her plan to create the nation’s first floating offshore wind research farm in the Gulf of Maine. In a letter Friday to licensed commercial fishermen, the Democratic governor said she would propose the moratorium to the Legislature. >click to read< 12:38

Gulf of Maine: Fishermen Worry About Rapid Pace Of Wind Development

In late November, the Mills administration announced that the state would seek a federal lease for up to 12 floating wind turbines off southern Maine that could produce enough energy for more than 70,000 homes. “We think there’s a real opportunity for Maine to be a leader in the country on floating offshore wind,” says Dan Burgess, (you’re full of crap, kid!) who leads the governor’s energy office. But if Gov. Mills wants to be in the driver’s seat, fishermen say she should take her foot off the gas, and step on the brakes. >click to read< 07:45

It’s time to open the economy back up! Maine Lobstermen Seek Ways To Prevent Financial Crash

Anti-glut tactics might include limiting days at sea, narrowing size limits or barring the catch of single-clawed lobsters to reduce the overall haul. In an online meeting Monday, Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher told Downeast lobstermen that he’s found no consensus on the best course of action. Lobsterman Jim Hanscom, of Bar Harbor, says he is wary of intervention by Gov. Janet Mills. “This governor scares me on a lot of levels, and the idea of her having the ability on shutting this fishery down or stopping dealers from buying, I think it’s just dangerous.” Keliher is scheduled to brief Mills on the issue Tuesday,,, >click to read< 10:40

Lobster industry split over whale protection plan called Maine’s ‘line in the sand’

Some fishermen at the South Portland meeting cheered the plan. One gave Keliher a standing ovation, saying the new proposal was much better for the lobster fleet than the task force plan rolled out in August that called for 50 percent fewer buoy lines. But fishermen in Ellsworth and Waldoboro, the site of the first two meetings this week, urged Keliher to resist federal pressure to make concessions that would hurt lobster fishermen when they pose no real threat to the whale.,, “Grow a backbone,” one lobstermen told Keliher. “Don’t give them anything now.” >click to read<  07:47

Janet Mills wants Maine carbon-neutral by 2045. What will that take?

Gov. Janet Mills made a surprise announcement when she addressed world leaders at the United Nations Climate Action Summit last week: She had issued an executive order pledging that Maine will be carbon-neutral by 2045.,,, Renewable power drives everything. So what is that likely to look like? The good news is that Maine has massive renewable power potential, especially in regard to offshore wind, a sector the University of Maine is on the cutting edge of, having developed a floating turbine platform. Jacobson’s team already developed an all-renewable energy plan for Maine consisting of 35 percent offshore wind, >click to read< 17:25

Mills comes out against ‘foolish’ federal regulations to protect right whales

Gov. Janet Mills is directing the Maine Department of Marine Resources to come up with an alternative to a federal plan to protect the endangered right whale from the state lobster industry, saying she won’t allow “foolish” regulations to make life harder for the state’s fishermen.,,, Some fishermen complained that it took Mills too long to come to their defense, and some worried her feisty tone might prompt federal regulators to take even more drastic action to protect the right whale, but many welcomed the support from the Blaine House.  “It’s nice to know the governor was listening to us,” said Cutler lobsterman Kristan Porter, the head of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association.  >click to read< 18:30

Maine Aqua Ventus floating wind farm gets green light

Maine Gov. Janet Mills gave the go-ahead for a floating offshore wind farm off the coast of Maine. “With the innovative work being done at University of Maine, our state has the potential to lead the world in floating offshore wind development,” Mills said. “This long-overdue bill will move us in that direction.” >click to read<10:10

Maine Governor Mills signs wind bill, announces plans to advance offshore energy

Stalled efforts to test a floating wind farm off the Maine coast got back on track Wednesday after Gov. Janet Mills signed legislation directing the Public Utilities Commission to approve the contract for Maine Aqua Ventus, a first-of-its-kind wind project in the United States.,,, Mills also announced two collaborative efforts to put the state back in the game for offshore wind energy research.,,, Mills also announced that she will create the Maine Offshore Wind Initiative. The state-based program will identify opportunities for offshore wind development in the Gulf of Maine,,, will promote compatibility between potential future uses and existing uses, such as Maine’s commercial fishing and maritime industries. >click to read<08:27

Mills signs $8 billion budget, bills including Green New Deal, plastic bag ban – >click to read<

Maine Passes Law to Help Sick Lobstermen Keep Licenses

A new law in Maine is designed to help lobster fishermen who develop major illnesses keep their licenses active. The bill allows lobstermen who get a temporary medical waiver to fish on days they feel well enough to do so, and they can designate a qualified relative to fish using their license when they do not. Democratic Gov. Janet Mills signed the bill into law last week. >click to read<09:34