Archive for the ‘Business Impact’ Category

NewPage ‘indefinitely’ idles Rumford paper machine

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

By Whit Richardson, BDN Staff

RUMFORD, Maine — NewPage on Tuesday said it would “indefinitely” stop operation of one of the paper machines at its Rumford paper mill by mid-February because of tough economic conditions.

Employees at the Rumford mill — there are about 830 — received the news Tuesday morning, according to Anthony Lyons, a mill spokesman….

Click to read more from the: Bangor Daily News

MTA NOTICE TO CONTRACTORS ROADSIDE CLEARING

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

MTA NOTICE TO CONTRACTORS ROADSIDE CLEARING

Click Link Below for Long Notice or the logo at left to visit the MTA’s

Construction Contracts Page

MTA: 2013.13 Roadside Clearing Notice to Contractors

Nathaniel F. Carll

Purchasing Manager

Maine Turnpike Authority

2360 Congress Street

Portland, ME 04102

ncarll@maineturnpike.com

Phone: (207)482-8115

Fax:   (207)871-7739

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Display of USDOT Numbers Now Required for All Motor Carriers in Maine

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Enforcement to begin January 1st

All Motor Carriers in Maine are now required to obtain and display a USDOT number.  Beginning January 1, 2013, the Maine State Police will begin enforcing the requirement for all motor carriers.

By way of background, prior to 2007 only interstate carriers and intrastate carriers of hazardous materials were required to display a USDOT number.  Those carriers with a gross vehicle weight rating of over 10,000 but under 26,001, who did not haul hazardous materials, were not required to have a USDOT number at all. Intrastate motor carriers over 26,000 have always been required to have a USDOT number but were not required to display it.

For the last year, Maine BMV through their municipal agents has required all motor carriers registering commercial vehicles over 10,000 to obtain a USDOT number.  Maine BMV will issue USDOT numbers to motor carriers over 26,000 pounds and will direct motor carriers between 10,001 and 26,000 to the on-line registration system of FMCSA.

The change in policy occurred because the Maine State Police now adopt Part 390 without amendment, thus the marking requirements in Part 390.21 apply to all motor carriers who operate commercial vehicles.  The definition of commercial vehicle is found in Part 390.5:

Commercial motor vehicle means any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle used on a highway in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property when the vehicle—

(1) Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating, or gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight, of 4,536 kg (10,001 pounds) or more, whichever is greater; or

(2) Is designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation; or

(3) Is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation; or

(4) Is used in transporting material found by the Secretary of Transportation to be hazardous under 49 U.S.C. 5103 and transported in a quantity requiring placarding under regulations prescribed by the Secretary under 49 CFR, subtitle B, chapter I, subchapter C.

All Motor Carrier’s must now conform to Part 390.21 which means having the legal trade name of their company and their USDOT number on each side of their vehicle.  The name and number must be in contrasting colors to their truck and visible from 50 feet during daylight hours.  The most common size for compliant lettering is 2 inches.

If you have questions or need assistance in obtaining a USDOT number, please feel free to contact the staff at MMTA who can assist with this and all of your compliance requirements.

Editor’s Note: This requirement will also apply to logger’s service trucks!

Maine Issues Letter to Feds opting out of Health Insurance Exchanges

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Maine Issues Letter to Federal Health Officials Opting Out of Health Insurance Exchanges

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage today reiterated his recommendation that the State of Maine will not develop a state-based health insurance exchange as part of the implementation of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA also referred to as ACA).

Because the guidance issued in the August 13, 2012, request of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is not legally binding, the State of Maine will not be submitting a Declaration Letter. Instead, Gov. LePage, in a letter to U.S. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, noted that the State of Maine has repeatedly stated that the law has severe legal problems, is bad policy, and overreaches into the lives and pocketbooks of fellow Americans.

“Maine will not build a state health insurance exchange as outlined by the ACA. We are not going to assist in implementation of this bill in its current form,” wrote Governor LePage. “The ACA is full of federal mandates; as such, even a state based health insurance exchange is actually controlled by the federal government. In the end, a state exchange puts the burden onto the states and the expense onto our taxpayers, without giving the state the authority and flexibility we must have to best meet the needs of the people of Maine.”

Governor LePage added that without knowing more details on the cost and nature of state-based exchanges, it is possible that our state could be placed in the untenable position of serving as the administrator of a new federal healthcare bureaucracy over which Maine has little control.

“Furthermore, many of the ACA regulations remain incomplete two and a half years after the bill passed. The legal status of portions of the bill remains unresolved, and there are too many unanswered questions. Complex technicalities make interpretation challenging, and unknown financial obligations—at a time when we face a fiscal crisis that we have yet to resolve—become extremely burdensome to businesses and families. Without such issues addressed, Maine cannot make a prudent and comprehensive decision in the best interests of our citizens.”

The Governor has also stated that the State of Maine will not expand Medicaid under the current structure that exists because it is not affordable.

Governor Paul LePage issued the rejection letter Thursday to arrive by Friday, Nov. 16, which is the deadline the federal government initially gave states to declare their intentions. On Thursday, HHS extended the deadline for states to make a decision on a state based exchange until Dec 14.

The full text of the letter is included below.

November 15, 2012

The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary
Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20201

Dear Secretary Sebelius:

With the November 16 deadline for states to determine whether we will participate in the health care exchange program per the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) upon us, I am writing to make you aware of Maine’s decision. As you know, the State of Maine has had a number of concerns regarding the implementation of the ACA.

Because the guidance issued in the August 13, 2012 request of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is not legally binding, the State of Maine will not be submitting a Declaration Letter. Instead, this letter serves as the state’s position regarding this issue.

Since the ACA was signed into law, the State of Maine, along with several other states, has repeated on a number of occasions and we continue to believe that the law has severe legal problems, is bad policy, and overreaches into the lives and pocketbooks of fellow Americans.

On November 14, 2012, I stated that our state would not build a state health insurance exchange as outlined by the ACA. We are not going to assist in implementation of this bill in its current form. The ACA is full of federal mandates; as such, even a state-based health insurance exchange is actually controlled by the federal government. In the end, a state exchange puts the burden onto the states and the expense onto our taxpayers without giving the state the authority and flexibility we must have to best meet the needs of the people of Maine.

Furthermore, many of the ACA regulations remain incomplete two and a half years after the bill passed. The legal status of portions of the bill remains unresolved, and there are too many unanswered questions. Complex technicalities make interpretation challenging, and unknown financial obligations—at a time when we face a fiscal crisis that we have yet to resolve—become extremely burdensome to businesses and families. Without such issues addressed, Maine cannot make a prudent and comprehensive decision in the best interest of our citizens.

We urge you to make public, as other states have requested, any contracts signed for the development of the federally facilitated Exchange. These documents would help states make informed decisions about the costs, timeframes, scope, operations and responsibilities of the federal exchange.

This law robs states of the ability to innovate and find cost-effective solutions that meet the needs of their citizens. We want meaningful reform, but the ACA masquerades as a free-market idea when in reality it is a stepping-stone to a single-payer system. Maine will not be complicit in the degradation of our nation’s premier health care system.

We need to address the real concerns of our health care system. I offer to work with your administration in finding workable, effective reforms and market solutions to the grave challenges we face.

Sincerely,

Paul R. LePage

Governor

cc:   The Honorable Olympia Snowe
The Honorable Susan Collins
The Honorable Michael Michaud
The Honorable Chellie Pingree
Commissioner Mary Mayhew
Commissioner Anne Head
Superintendent Eric Cioppa
Stefanie Nadeau

Maine Turnpike Tolls Increase Today

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

The Maine Turnpike increased toll rates are now in effect.  That means just a little more for each trip and probably more traffic on I-295 at least temporarily.   For the new tolls both cash and with the discounted EZ-Pass, visit the Maine Turnpike Authority’s website: http://www.maineturnpike.com or the Maine Turnpike EZ Pass Webiste: https://ezpassmaineturnpike.com/EZPass/.

Editor’s Note: November 1st the Turnpike website is scheduled for maintenance throughout the day.

Informational Training Sessions: Timber Harvesting in Shoreland Areas

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Statewide Standards for Timber Harvesting and Related Activities in Shoreland Areas will be taking effect in certain municipalities January 1, 2013.

On January 1, 2013 organized towns that have decided to adopt statewide standards for timber harvesting and related activities in shoreland areas will have statewide standards go into effect.

Towns that have either elected to retain their old shoreland zoning ordinance for timber harvesting or not taken action on statewide standards will continue under their old shoreland zoning rules until they take action.

Areas under the administration of the Land Use Planning Commission (formerly know as LURC) will also continue under current rules for the time being.

A map and list of the status of each town is below. The map and list will be updated as new towns adopt statewide standards.

Town Status List (pdf)

Town Status Map (pdf)

Informational Training Sessions

The Maine Forest Service will be holding a series of informational training sessions on statewide standards for timber harvesting and related activities in shoreland areas.  These standards will be replacing old town ordinances for timber harvesting in the shoreland zone in certain municipalities starting January 1, 2013. These sessions will run from 6:30-8:30 PM at each location and will take place regardless of weather. Each session will give an overview of the standards, provide information on resources for assistance with the standards and be an opportunity to ask questions.  Foresters, loggers and landowners who harvest timber in shoreland areas are encouraged to attend.

Click Here For More Information and Info. Session Schedule

Maine Turnpike board gives tentative approval for toll hike

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

The Maine Turnpike Authority Board of Directors voted Thursday on a tentative toll increase scheme that would raise $21 million a year…the plan would[also] raise commercial truck rates…

Read more in the Portland Press Herald

Governor LePage invites businesses to take survey

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

AUGUSTAGov. Paul LePage is encouraging businesses to respond to the 2012 Maine Business Survey, which is available online and pose about 40 questions.

Responses received over the next several weeks will help drive future economic policy decisions by the administration.

Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner George Gervais says the survey gives businesses a unique opportunity to influence Maine’s future business climate and their very own profitability.

The survey asks businesses to rate everyday challenges from attracting and retaining employees to overall infrastructure needs. It also digs deeper into specific policy areas such as workforce development, regulation, access to capital and incentives, workers compensation and marketing.

Editor’s Note: You can participate in the survey by going to www.maine.gov/decd/survey or by clicking the “Open For Business logo here or on the PLC Homepage

Obamacare’s Insurance Rule Is Upheld by Supreme Court

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

The Supreme Court, in a landmark ruling Thursday, upheld the individual insurance requirement at the heart of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

The court on Thursday handed Obama a campaign-season victory in rejecting arguments that Congress went too far in requiring most Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty.

Chief Justice John Roberts announced the court’s judgment that allows the law to go forward with its aim of covering more than 30 million uninsured Americans.

Source: http://finance.yahoo.com

Update:  Link to the Court’s Ruling (PDF)

Raye & Thomas Visit E. Millinocket Mill & Millinocket Thermogen Site

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Maine Senator Doug Thomas (R-Ripley); Everett O’Neill, GPN’s Vice President of Operations and Manufacturing, and Maine Senate President Kevin Raye (R-Perry)

EAST MILLINOCKET – Maine Senate President Kevin Raye (R-Perry) and Senator Doug Thomas (R-Ripley) visited the Great Northern Paper mill in East Millinocket on Tuesday, June 5th, where they toured the mill and met with representatives of Cate Street Capital.  Raye and Thomas also visited for a first-hand look at the site on the campus of the closed Millinocket mill where Thermogen Industries plans to create jobs manufacturing torrefied wood pellets.

The Thermogen proposal received a boost in May when Raye and Thomas successfully included an amendment to the state budget that makes the project eligible for participation in Maine’s New Markets Capital Investment Program (NMCIP).  Raye sponsored the law establishing the New Markets tax credit last year, in an effort to encourage private sector investment in job creation in areas of Maine that have been left behind economically.

The amendment pushed by Raye and Thomas this year increased the cap for the program from $10 million to $40 million, which will encourage Cate Street Capital to make an investment in the project through its Thermogen Industries subsidiary.

“Cate Street really did create a dual opportunity,” said Senator Thomas. “Making use of the idled Millinocket paper mill property as a wood-product manufacturing facility is a great idea, a natural fit, and a boost to a town sorely in need of new jobs,” said Senator Thomas. “It’s also a boost to Maine port towns where these wood products will be shipped overseas.”

“The New Markets Tax Credit is designed to boost the economy in areas of greatest need,” said Raye.  “That’s why I introduced it, and it is exciting to see it hold such great promise for the Katahdin Region, which has been hit so hard by the loss of traditional paper-making jobs.  We need to do everything we can to encourage quality jobs and ensure a bright future for rural Maine.”

The Senators were greeted in East Millinocket by Richard Cyr, CEO and President of Great Northern Paper (GNP) and Thermogen, and COO of Cate Street Capital. Everett O’Neill, GNP’s Vice President of Operations and Manufacturing, took Raye and Thomas on a tour of the East Millinocket mill, and then the Senators visited Millinocket with Cyr and other company officials.

“Those of us who live and work in rural Maine have seen so many manufacturing plants idled and wasting away,” said Senator Raye. “The New Markets Tax Credit and other steps we have taken to make Maine more jobs-friendly are making a difference as we look to the future.”


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