Thursday, December 26, 2013

Maine DEP may have increased legislative overight, but no investigation

For those following events at the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, an update from today's Portland Press Herald:

The department -- and lobbyist-turned-commissioner Patricia Aho -- may face increased oversight from lawmakers. Two bills are to be considered in the January "emergency" legislative session, one focused on dam relicensing, the other on rulemaking. But Democratic legislators say an investigation of past activities at the department looks unlikely. Details in the story, along with some developments regarding the Kid Safe Products Act.

The developments follow the publication of my five-part, three-day series on Aho's DEP in June and stories on the department's subsequent failures in regards to dam relicensing here and here.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Speaking on the global oceans crisis, Portland, Maine, Dec. 11

On December 11, I'll be speaking to the World Affairs Council of Maine about the crisis in the crisis in the world's oceans, the topic of my first book, Ocean's End: Travels Through Endangered Seas.

The talk is being held in Portland at the University of Southern Maine's Lee Auditorium, which is located in the Wishcamper Center, and is the first in WACM's series, Rethinking the Oceans: Bringing a Maine Perspective to a Global Imperative. It's being co-sponsored with the Center for Oceans and Coastal Law at the University of Maine School of Law and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute.

There will be a reception at 5pm and the talk kicks off at 5:30. Registration is $10 for WACM members, $15 for others, free for matriculated students. For further information and registration please visit here.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A reporting collaboration with The Guardian

My story in today's Portland Press Herald explored a proposal by the conservative Maine Heritage Policy Center revive the economy of Maine's poorest county by exempting it from state income and sales taxes.

The story was part of a collaboration with the Guardian, the London-based international news organization, which had acquired internal documents from the State Policy Network, a conservative organization for which Maine Heritage and dozens of other state-level think tanks serve as franchises. The Guardian today wrote about the national strategy the documents revealed -- a follow-up to their stories yesterday and Monday on the closely-affiliated American Legislative Exchange Council (or ALEC) which SPN, Maine Heritage, and several Maine legislators are members of. The Texas Observer also filed this story on an SPN-related initiative in that state.

The Guardian version of my story can be found here, and even includes some of my photography - something I haven't done as much of since dialing back my foreign correspondent work a few years back.

The collaboration was an enjoyable experience -- the intersection of a local and national story -- which I hope we will find occasion to repeat.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Speaking on American Nations, York, Maine, Dec. 5

For those in southern Maine and seacoast New Hampshire, I'll be giving my presentation on American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America tomorrow evening, December 5, at the York Public Library.

The event kicks off at 6pm and is free and open to the public. It's kindly sponsored by Sentry Hill at York Harbor.

The book went viral last month, receiving considerable national media attention.

Academics take note: Inside Higher Ed says you should learn about the American Nations divisions before taking your next posting.

My next event in Maine will be on Ocean's End at the World Affairs Council of Maine in Portland, December 11. Details to follow.