Oil spill bill probably dead in the water

Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. Tonight: a whole mess of things.

What we’re talking about

Bill to protect against Maine oil spills likely dead — Jake Bleiberg followed up this morning on the proposed bill that came after his reporting on ship-to-ship fuel transfers:

A bill that would require ships transferring fuel in Maine waters to use protective devices meant to block the spread of oil in the case of a spill is likely dead.

The Legislature’s Joint Committee on Environment and Natural Resources last week recommended that Portland Sen. Ben Chipman’s bill should not be passed after a bevy of industry lobbyists and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection testified against it.

The bill would require ships transferring oil to deploy floating containment rings, known as booms, and inform the United States Coast Guard before they begin pumping the heavy oil that fuels many large vessels. It is unlikely to become law as the Senate routinely accepts committee recommendations.

Chipman, a Democrat, said he was disappointed his fellow legislators chose not to address a “clearly identified risk.” He said the committee was “overwhelmed by folks from the oil industry,” but he intends to try again on the issue.

Hey! There’s a city here. — Forbes’ Kayla Brizo wants northeast road trippers weary of “Boston, Philly, D.C., [or] Toronto” to “look a bit further” to Portland, Maine. Nevermind that Portland is nearly 200 miles closer to the New York City area, where Brizo is based, than Toronto. She wants the largest city in a state called “Vacationland” added to “the list of reasonable places you can hit in the family mini-van.” Portland boasts lobster, beer and lighthouses, Brizo writes. Who knew?  — Jake Bleiberg

All but 2 Maine counties had more deaths than births in 2016 — Cumberland is one of them. It saw 223 more births than deaths last year.  

Lawmakers are considering building a connector to ease traffic from suburbs — Steve Mistler of Maine Public reports:

Ways to ease traffic on the access roads from Portland to its western suburbs have been studied for years. However, the turnpike authority cannot build the connector without permission from the Legislature and the Maine Department of Transportation doesn’t have the funding to do it on its own.

[Gorham Rep. Andrew] McLean’s bill would allow the turnpike authority to borrow up to $150 million to build the connector. Mills says the project could take 4-10 years if it’s approved by the Legislature.

Today, in Obamacare repeal news —The New York Times reports: “House Republican leaders postponed a planned vote Thursday in the full House on legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act as President Trump and his allies struggled to round up votes amid a tide of defections from the proposed replacement bill.”

That news came hours after Gov. Paul LePage changed his tune on the GOP’s bill, encouraging Maine’s senators to vote in favor of the proposed health care plan.

Tweet of the day

From Jennifer McAuliffe:

The Big Idea

‘Read President Trump’s Interview With TIME on Truth and Falsehoods’ — Technically true: Hey look, in the meantime, I guess, I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president, and you’re not.”

Related, from Jezebel: ‘We Redacted Everything That’s Not a Verifiably True Statement From Trump’s Time Interview About Truth’

Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email Dan MacLeod at dmacleod@bangordailynews.com, or tweet @dsmacleod.

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Dan MacLeod

About Dan MacLeod

Dan MacLeod is the managing editor of the Bangor Daily News. He's an Orland native who moved to Portland in 2002 and now lives in Unity. He's been a journalist since 2008, and previously worked for the New York Post and the Brooklyn Paper.