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This is Governor John Baldacci.

This week I unveiled my vision of a Maine that is more energy independent.

A full 80 percent or more of Maine homes are currently heated with oil. Our State is one of the most dependent on this fossil fuel, and that is not a distinction to be proud of.

An overdependence on heating with oil jeopardizes our national security, it harms our environment and our health, and has left us at the mercy of markets and foreign powers over which we have little control.

We can do better; we must do better, for our economy and our children’s future.

Most of the money spent on oil is a dollar that leaves out of this State.

We can put those dollars to work right here in Maine. We can grow green jobs that will keep our young people home, earning a good living in a place they love.

We can take advantage of our location on the eastern seaboard, between eastern Canadian provinces and southern New England, to be an energy hub for the region and the nation.

Our natural resources, used wisely and in a sustainable way, present us with great opportunities.

We need to develop diverse clean, renewable energy sources.

Maine is on the way.

When prices spiked last summer, we took immediate action to begin fighting our oil addiction, with a new emphasis on making homes more energy efficient.

We increased funding for weatherization, cutting energy bills for families.

And we put technology to work, streaming live video to classrooms across the State, so we could expand training for homeowners and professionals so they would get the information they need to reduce energy consumption.

Much has been accomplished, but we must do more.

First, we will put all of our energy efforts under one roof so they are more closely coordinated and more easily accessible to Maine families and businesses.

We will invest in clean, renewable sources of power. Whether from the sun, wind, tidal, or forests, Maine has an abundant source of energy generation potential.

We have two of the largest operating wind farms in New England already, and billions of dollars in proposed projects on the way.

To advance renewable energy projects off the coast of Maine, I propose using $7.5 million dollars to support the development of premier offshore testing site for wind energy for the country.

Using funds from the Recovery Act, we will build on our energy conservation and weatherization efforts.

The Recovery Act includes $32 million dollars to weatherize homes for low-income families, and we will be adding access to another $100 million for middle-class families.

We will set aggressive goals to weatherize every home in Maine and half of our businesses in the next 20 years.

Maine banks and credit unions will help us to accomplish home energy improvements, and the State will guarantee loans to access up to $100 million dollars of private capital.

In one simple process, Mainers be able to save money on mortgages by refinancing, improve home values, and cut utility bills.

We will combine the efforts of the Department of Labor, Maine State Housing, the Public Utilities Commission, working with our universities and community colleges to create a green-collar workforce that is second to none.

And we’ll help young workers who will then help us meet our energy goals. This summer we will have our own Weatherization Corps of young workers, who will learn important life and job skills right on the job by working on energy related projects.

And we will work on building more reliable transmission and greater capacity to handle the new energy resources that are being developed.

It’s important that we improve Maine’s electrical grid and transmission corridors to better link Maine to New Brunswick and the rest of New England. There are privately-funded projects moving forward now, worth billions of dollars, employing thousands of workers.

Maine’s strengths, especially our people and natural resources, put us in a unique position in this time in history. We need to invest now to create jobs and to strengthen our economy.

There’s a new era of opportunity and prosperity on the horizon. We will get there by working together.

Thank you for listening, and have a great weekend.

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