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November 18, 2013

LePage asks DEP to convene climate change group

Gov. Paul LePage has called for the state's top environmental regulator to convene a group to coordinate efforts of natural resource-based state agencies and address impacts of climate change on the state.

The Maine Public Broadcasting Network reported the governor asked Patricia Aho, commissioner of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, to convene the "Environmental and Energy Resources Working Group" to create a summary of state projects, programs and activities dealing with Maine's natural resources. In his letter, LePage wrote that "natural resources are the cornerstone of the economies" of many communities in the state and that "changes in our climate may provide both opportunities and challenges."

The call for forming the group comes just five months after LePage vetoed a bill directing the DEP to restart a study of climate change impacts in the state. Adrienne Bennett, a spokeswoman for the governor, told the news station the new group does not require agencies to do additional work but rather coordinate ongoing climate change study or adaptation efforts at different agencies.

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