Governor’s Wood to Energy Task Force Announces Public Hearing

The Governor’s Wood to Energy Task Force is holding a public hearing regarding the conversion of wood to energy in Maine. The hearing will take place Wednesday, May 28, at the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine (SAM) Conference Center, 205 Church Hill Road in Augusta, from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. The public is invited to speak and to submit written testimony.

The Task Force on Wood to Energy was initiated by Governor Baldacci with a mission statement of:

The Governor’s Task Force on Wood to Energy was established to identify, evaluate and promote the economically advantageous use and development of sustainable alternative energy resources and technologies for buildings by capitalizing on the abundance of Maine’s forest resources. The Task Force will evaluate the economic, environmental and public health impacts of forest-based energy alternatives and will provide recommendations to reduce energy costs, reduce reliance on foreign oil, develop and preserve new and existing markets and ensure the responsible stewardship of Maine’s forest resources. The Task Force shall also examine European technologies and resource management, drawing lessons from their existing markets.

Les Otten, Chairman of the Task Force states, “Maine is in an energy crisis and while there are no silver bullets that will immediately solve the high cost of oil and our dependence on foreign oil, Governor Baldacci has shown strong leadership by understanding the severity of the situation and creating and supporting the work of this Task Force. The Task Force is working hard to address this issue before things spiral out of control.”

Some dire facts facing Maine citizens:

Maine has the highest dependence on home heating oil of any state in the nation.
Maine residents spent $1.375 billion last year for #2 heating oil. The recent increase in heating oil prices just this year will add more than $400 million to that total.

Without substantial change in current trends before the coming winter, many Maine citizens will be unable to heat their homes, feed their families, and manage their most basic health care needs.

Governor’s Wood to Energy Task Force

  • Les Otten (Chair) – Maine Energy Systems LLC
  • Pat McGowan – Commissioner, Maine Department of Conservation
  • Chip Gavin – Director, Maine Bureau of General Services
  • Dale McCormick – Director, Maine State Housing Authority
  • Jack Cashman – Senior Economic Advisor for Governor Baldacci
  • John Kerry – Director, Maine Office of Energy Independence
  • Doug Smith – Maine State Senator
  • Jon Hinck – Maine State Representative
  • John Fitzsimmons – President, Maine Community College System
  • Bill Strauss – FutureMetrics
  • Charlie Agnew – Biomass Commodities Corp.
  • George Soffron – Corinth Wood Pellets
  • Keith Van Scotter – Lincoln Pulp and Tissue
  • Jim Delamater – Northeast Bank
  • Wick Johnson – Kennebec Tool & Die
  • Patrick Strauch – Maine Forest Products Council
  • Ian Burnes – Maine Office of Energy Independence
  • Ed Miller – American Lung Association of Maine
  • Charlie Spies – CEI Capital Management LLC
  • Bill Bell – Maine Association of Conservation Districts
  • Doug Baston – Small Woodlot Owners Assoc. of Maine (SWOAM)
  • Peter Triandafillou – Huber Resources Corp.
  • Dana Connors – Maine State Chamber of Commerce
  • Hemant Pendse – University of Maine Professor
  • Doug Gardner – University of Maine Professor
  • Dutch Dresser – Maine Energy Systems LLC
  • Sean Mahoney – Conservation Law Foundation
  • Paul Davis – Plum Creek Timber Company

Directions to SAM Conference Center, 205 Church Hill Road, Augusta:

From 95, take the ME- Route 3 exit (EXIT 113) toward AUGUSTA/BELFAST. Stay STRAIGHT on Route 3 for 3.2 miles; Turn LEFT onto CHURCH HILL RD.; go 0.1 mile and 205 Church Hill Road is on your right; large log building.