Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Bangor: Baldacci, N.B. premier discuss energy progress

Bangor Daily News
February 13, 2008

BANGOR, Maine — There is great potential on the horizon for Maine and New Brunswick to continue working together to build a stronger relationship to improve trade, energy options, and the economy in both regions, New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham told a crowd at Spectacular Event Center on Tuesday.

Graham and Gov. John Baldacci spoke Tuesday morning to members of the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce at an early-bird breakfast before heading to the Bangor Civic Center to open a daylong conference on tourism.

"I am eager to work with you to build a stronger Maine and self-sufficient New Brunswick," Graham said. "We’re in this together."

Both parties discussed the progress that already has been made regarding energy, tourism and transportation, and talked about plans for the future.

"We probably should have been doing a lot of this stuff much earlier," Baldacci said. "[But] if we can both be working hard to benefit our people together, it will be so much greater."

New Brunswick is researching options for energy projects on a number of fronts, including a second nuclear reactor and tidal and wind energy production.

Another nuclear reactor at Point Lepreau would create about 4,000 jobs during construction and 500 skilled positions to operate the facility.

"I’m confident that the results will indeed exceed expectations," Graham said.

In addition, New Brunswick is home to the largest oil refinery in Canada and Irving Oil is proposing to build a second refinery with an output of 3,000 barrels a day.

The province also continues to work on renewable energy options, and Graham and Baldacci said they hope to see both regions become successful in that area as responsible stewards of the environment.

"While we work to seek out areas of cooperation and collaboration between New Brunswick and Maine, we must also improve our physical links as well," Graham said.

With a more solid infrastructure, such as the new border crossing at Calais and the potential for an east-west highway, there also is an opportunity to increase commerce and tourism.

"You’re going to see more New Brunswick license plates in Maine. Now we need to make sure we see more Maine license plates in New Brunswick," Graham said.

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