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Good morning. This is Governor John Baldacci.

This week, I joined 10 other governors from across the country to meet with President Obama and key members of his Administration focused on changing our nation’s energy future.

Maine can be proud that we are leading the way and becoming a model in aggressively pursuing clean, renewable energy production.

Already, Maine is home to 95 percent of the operating on-shore wind capacity in New England.

And with businesses like Old Town Fuel and Fiber, we are developing new technologies that can help reduce our dependency on foreign oil.

A core component of the Old Town Fuel & Fiber operation is using technology developed at the University of Maine to create biofuels, which are renewable energy resources from our forest products.

What this means to Maine is that we can produce energy here in our State – making our country more secure and keeping our energy dollars working here at home.

Maine is THE most dependent state in the country on foreign oil.

Many of the homes are not energy efficient and rely on oil for heat.

On top of that, as a rural state, most of us rely on our cars to get to work, to go to the grocery store and to go about our lives.

We rely upon oil too much.

Billions of dollars earned by hard-working Maine families leave our state and country to support foreign countries and sometimes hostile governments.

And relying on fossil fuels jeopardizes our environment and the way of life we enjoy.

Energy independence means using our abundant natural resources in a way that reduces pollution and grows good-paying jobs.

This is about financial, environmental and national security.

Here in Maine we have been investing in renewable energy, promoting energy efficiency, and working with private partners to ramp up our ability to compete for green jobs and industries.

It’s no surprise, then, that Maine has been recognized by the Obama Administration for its leadership.

At the White House on Wednesday, I pressed the Administration on a number of energy issues important to Maine.

This wasn’t the first time we’ve had the ear of the President on energy.

I first approached then President-elect Obama at a meeting he hosted with the nation’s governors late in 2008.

I told him then that Maine is eager to lead the way to a more stable and secure energy supply.

This week, I was pleased to tell the President about the aggressive steps we have taken in Maine to show what is possible, and to provide insights on steps the federal government could take to help Maine continue our way to energy independence.

This includes establishing in law the goal to weatherize all residences and 50 percent of businesses by 2030.

Efficiency Maine has developed new incentives to support Maine residents and businesses seeking to become more energy efficient.

Significant additional federal funds may be available to the State to accelerate Maine’s weatherization program and to stimulate clean energy projects here.

I also approached the President to support regional energy approaches, and I was heartened to hear his commitment to each region of the country using its strengths to develop clean energy.

Maine has particular strengths to be a leader in biofuel and wind energy generation.

We have a favorable geography and natural resources, broad-based support, including public-private partnerships, and the technological and workforce strengths that the State has tirelessly built.

A broad mix of renewable energy sources is necessary to provide secure energy supplies and jobs. So I’m pleased that the President is looking favorably to supporting biofuels as well as wind.

The President listened and he has vowed to be a partner with the states as we seek energy independence.

This is important, because energy security and the job growth it supports are long-term goals requiring sustained partnerships between the federal and state governments as well as the private sector.

Together, we can realize this bold vision of producing renewable energy that will benefit Maine now and for generations to come.

Thank you and have a great weekend.

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