Document Type



This is Governor John Baldacci.

As we confront our national addiction to oil and the dangers it presents to our people and our economy, we must do things great and small to reduce our consumption and protect lives.

A week ago, I released the details of a short-term action plan that puts resources to work immediately to help families prepare for winter and to reduce oil use.

We began work on the plan in the spring, before energy prices hit their peak. That early preparation and the work of my Pre-Emergency Task Force laid the foundation for our plans.

Dozens of individuals from every sector of Maine’s economy came together to collect information, identify needs and search for solutions.

There are no easy or quick answers. Reducing oil’s strangle hold on our State will take a sustained commitment. But we must take on this difficult job now.

The $12.6 million dollar plan includes new investments in weatherization, low-income heating assistance, alternative modes of transportation, voluntary alternate work schedules for State employees, business development, training and education, and is targeted toward specific, attainable results within the next five months – not the next five years.

My first priority is this winter, making sure every winter afterwards is less and less of a burden on Maine people and businesses.

We increased funding for low-income heating assistance by more than $4 million dollars and will create an emergency fund to help families who find themselves in a heating crisis during winter’s coldest months.

While continuing to pump millions of dollars into oil tanks can keep people warm in the short-term, it doesn’t do anything to reduce the amount of oil we burn.

My plan will also increase funding for weatherization by $2 million. The resources will help to make more homes more energy efficient.

We’re also putting more than $1 million new dollars into a program to clean, tune and evaluate the furnaces of low-income families so that that public-private partnership can reduce fuel consumption by as much as 10 percent.

When the tune up is combined with weatherization, homeowners can save 30 percent off their heating bills.

Weatherization is about using resources wisely. For every gallon of oil saved, we are able to spread our fuel assistance dollars farther and help more Maine people.

And weatherization is an investment that lasts, not just this winter, but every winter afterwards, paying a high dividend for years to come.

So our plan puts resources where they can be most effective between now and December. It is responsible and will help keep people safe and secure in their homes.

In addition to helping the low-income families, I believe we must help the middle class.

The Maine State Housing Authority has below-market rates available right now to middle class families so they can weatherize their homes.

The loans have low rates, friendly terms, and provide families with an affordable option for fighting high energy costs.

The Finance Authority of Maine has set aside an additional $1 million in its Economic Recovery Loan Program to help businesses invest in energy conservation.

High energy prices hold our businesses back. So with FAME financing, employers in the State will have a way to fight back.

We’re also reprogramming more than $1 million dollars within the Department of Transportation to increase the use of the carpooling program called GoMaine, we are extending our Free Fares on Fridays with our public bus system and improving access to rail service.

We’re beginning a better understanding of our transportation capacity and we are trying to get more and more cars off the road and saving drivers money, and helping businesses get their goods to market more quickly and cheaply.

I have also signed an executive order creating a pilot program within bureaus and agencies of State government that will allow for an alternative work schedule, like the four-day work week.

Our goal is to reduce the amount of driving required by State workers doing State business without hurting the ability to deliver those services to residents and citizens here in the State of Maine.

By giving workers the flexibility, we hope to take cars off the road, reducing the demand for gasoline and saving all families money.

The pilot program will test the effectiveness of the alternative scheduling and determine whether it cuts our energy costs.

So we are following through on those recommendations, creating a new single point of contact for energy calls at 2-1-1.

As part of improving the 2-1-1 system, requests for information will be filled within one business day and applicants for assistance or loan programs will have their requests processed within 30 days.

And as we support those local efforts of neighbors helping neighbors, neighbors answering the calls for each other, we know that this winter is going to be difficult. But if we take smart, responsible actions, we can make sure that everyone stays safe and that going forward we are using less and less oil.

Thank you all and have a good weekend.

Exact Creation Date






Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "Save As"



Rights Statement

Rights Statement

No Copyright - United States. URI: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/NoC-US/1.0/
The organization that has made the Item available believes that the Item is in the Public Domain under the laws of the United States, but a determination was not made as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. The Item may not be in the Public Domain under the laws of other countries. Please refer to the organization that has made the Item available for more information.