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April 22, 2022

On Earth Day, Mills announces $2.5M in local grants to fight climate change

Seventy-five communities across Maine have been awarded a total of $2.5 million in state grants to help address climate change.

The grants come from the Community Resilience Partnership, a program of the Gov. Janet Mills’ Office of Policy Innovation and the Future to help Maine communities with local climate action plans reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Of the awards, 29 towns and cities will receive direct funding for local projects. Grants to planning, economic development and community organizations across Maine will support another 46 towns and tribal governments in starting or advancing climate resilience plans in the months ahead.

“Cities and towns across Maine recognize the serious threat that climate change poses to their people and their communities, and they are stepping up to take action to protect them,” Mills said.

The Maine communities and organizations receiving Community Resilience Partnership grants span all 16 counties and represent a cross-section of projects. They include creating community climate plans, protecting historic downtowns from rising sea levels, addressing public health risks from rising temperatures, and supporting clean energy investments like electric vehicle charging and solar power.

In Rockland, city leaders plan to use a $50,000 grant award to further investments in its downtown, including its public landing, recreational areas and working waterfront.

“This grant will help the city of Rockland develop a more resilient design for the piers and seawall on Rockland’s downtown waterfront. These facilities are vulnerable to increasing storm surges, and the Community Resilience Partnership grant will help us develop the engineering detail needed to apply for federal funds to redevelop our marine infrastructure,” said Julie Hashem, community development director for Rockland.

In Bangor, the city will use its $50,000 grant award to support the installation of public electric vehicle chargers, including one at the Bangor Public Library, and to conduct resilience planning for its waterfront along the Penobscot River.

The town of Limestone intends to use its $50,000 grant award to partner with the Maine School of Science and Mathematics to help purchase two existing solar arrays at the Loring Commerce Centre. The project is intended to reduce energy bills and carbon emissions while creating new research and academic opportunities for students.

In Auburn, the Androscoggin County Valley of Governments will use its award to help four towns, Jay, Carthage, Greenwood and Chesterville, develop climate planning priorities. In Saco, the Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission will use its award to further its successful regional climate planning work.

A second round of Community Resilience Partnership grants will be awarded later this year. The goal of the program is to enroll a minimum of 100 Maine communities within its first year, either individually or through regional coalitions developed by coordinators funded by the program.

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