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Obama says fuel standards will save businesses billions

Firetrucks and concrete mixers, semis, heavy-duty pickups and all trucks in between will, for the first time, have to trim fuel consumption and emissions of heat-trapping gases under new efficiency standards announced Tuesday by President Barack Obama. The White House said the standards will save businesses billions of dollars in fuel costs, help reduce oil consumption and cut air pollution. The standards apply to vehicle model years 2014 to 2018.

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2 wind projects underway in Maine this summer

With four grid-scale wind projects already built in Maine and another two under construction, the state is poised to surpass an important milestone as it moves toward its 2015 wind-power generation goal.

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The Tipping Point

This spring, a long-simmering debate boiled over into the halls and chambers of the State House, with the introduction of a bill that sought to eliminate the Land Use Regulation Commission altogether, and with it the state’s role in overseeing planning and development in its vast, 10.4 million acre jurisdiction. The bill — sponsored by Representative Jeffrey Gifford (R-Lincoln) and championed by Senate President Kevin Raye (R-Perry) — sought to transfer these powers to the counties, which in Maine have long been entities of little consequence and limited powers. Were it to be enacted, the North Woods would no longer be governed as a single unit by a state agency, but rather as eight jurisdictions, each controlled by a separate set of county commissioners.

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LURC's Balancing Act

Innovation and responsiveness to input are just the approach needed to address the issues facing Maine. As the pressure on our unspoiled places continues to grow, so too does the importance of having in place a thoughtful, consistent system for managing competing demands and allowing public input. The Land Use Regulation Commission has demonstrated that it is just such an entity, and can manage difficult decisions that balance development with natural values.

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Federal judge says suit over river salmon can proceed

A federal magistrate judge has recommended lawsuits filed by two environmental groups against two companies that operate hydro-electric dams on the lower Androscoggin River be allowed to go forward. Friends of Merrymeeting Bay and Environment Maine say the recommendation is a preliminary victory in their efforts to save the endangered Atlantic salmon from extinction.

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