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Good day.

Just about a year ago, I had the honor and privilege of visiting New Brunswick, Canada, where I addressed the province’s Legislative Assembly.

It’s a wonderful opportunity to re-introduce Maine to one of our closest neighbors and to improve our cross-border cooperation on a number of issues.

Those efforts have already paid great dividends, and this Tuesday New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham will visit Maine and speak to a joint session of the Maine House of Representatives and State Senate.

Together, Premier Graham and I have begun to lay the groundwork for a new energy future.

Maine and New Brunswick are blessed with great potential for development of renewable energy resources.

We have enormous potential for wind and tidal, hydro-electric and bio-mass, and we have ready access to a New England market that is hungry for “green” power.

Last February, Premier Graham and I signed a memorandum of understanding that begins to examine the hurdles and benefits to greater cooperation on energy production and transmission.

We sit on the edge of the Boston-Washington market, and we have what millions of people need: lower-cost, reliable electricity.

And there are also challenges that must be overcome before Maine and New Brunswick can fully capitalize on our joint potential.

Work to break down those barriers continues, and Tuesday’s visit by Premier Graham demonstrates that we have committed and sincere partners in New Brunswick.

You know, Maine families and businesses face an increasing – and unfair – burden from high costs of electricity too.

As it stands today, we are stuck in system that takes – and makes - money from Maine to pay for poor decisions made in other states.

Our electricity prices are unnecessarily high, and it puts real stress on our manufacturing and business development; and it puts real stress on working families.

So, I believe by working with New Brunswick, I can, and we can develop an alternative to our current predicament that will save our people money and make our businesses more competitive.

To be successful, we need an aggressive pursuit of renewable production, and expanded wind generation and further development of wood-to-energy initiatives.

I want Maine to develop energy resources that utilize our natural resources, put people to work in good-paying jobs and reduce energy prices.

And we are going to need to support increased transmission capacity to carry the energy produced in Maine and New Brunswick south to the states that are desperate for it.

You know, Maine’s ties to New Brunswick go further and deeper than emerging energy partnerships.

We are also close culturally in our ties between the province and our state, and a long tradition of trade and movement between our territories.

We have much in common.

Last year, Premier Graham and I watched as representatives from our two community colleges signed an agreement to share knowledge, experience and resources.

And this year, we are going to discuss ways to increase the ties between our artistic and creative communities.

Through March 22, the exhibition of late Maine artist Bernard Langlais is on display in Saint John and so far, it’s been a great success and speaks to the potential of even greater cooperation.

And, of course, New Brunswick and Maine are tied together by our people, who travel back and forth across the border for work and for recreation.

Canadian tourists are an important part of Maine’s economy, and during Premier Graham’s visit, we will speak to the Governor’s Conference on Tourism, which is being held in Bangor on Tuesday.

Tourism is Maine’s leading industry, and we will work with Premier Graham and his government to make it as safe and easy as possible for visitors to travel back and forth across our shared border.

I look forward to continued cooperation between New Brunswick and Maine, and I am confident that we are stronger when we work with our neighbors on common goals.

And I am proud to welcome Premier Graham to Maine on Tuesday, and I look forward to his address before the Maine Legislature.

Premier Graham and I began a common goal for the people we serve. And it was to set our state and provinces on the road to energy independency and self-sufficiency and to lead our countries in energy conservation and environmental protection.

I am confident that in Premier Graham, Maine has found a partner in progress.

Thank you and have a good weekend.

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