Paperworkers, Environmentalists Support Clean Energy Legislation 

Catherine Pegram

Paper mill workers and environmentalists joined together today in Bangor to support legislation they say will add thousands of jobs to the state. Members of the United Steelworkers of Maine, the Sierra Club and other environmental groups called on Maine Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe to back a clean energy and climate change bill. The legislation is aimed at reducing the country’s dependence on oil, by retooling manufacturing plants to produce green energy.It also includes money to re-train laid off employees. Union workers say that could offer hope for many paper mills, such as the NewPage mill in Rumford, which has lost about 6-hundred jobs in the last few years. Worker Ron Hemingway says, “We have a biomass boiler at our facility and it is very clean and it puts out a lot of energy. It helps to keep us competitive. If we could get a clean energy bill, it would help my mill even more to be able to put more of my people back to work.”The Senate is expected to begin debating the clean energy legislation this month.