November 08, 2019
FALMOUTH, ME – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) celebrated the contributions of Maine’s forest economy while emphasizing the importance of environmental stewardship at the Land Conservation Assistance Network (LandCAN) panel discussion and forum in Falmouth. Senator King’s remarks focused on the economic impact of Maine’s forest products industry, which supports communities throughout the state, and the importance of balance in protecting Maine’s natural resources. The event, titled “May the Forests be With You”, celebrated Maine’s forests and leaders in the state’s bioeconomy.
“Maine’s forests are among our state’s greatest natural assets, and we need to manage this resource in a way that maximizes its current and future value to Maine people,” said Senator King. “If we work together, we can build on our success and put Maine’s forests in the best possible position to thrive. That is the spirit of today’s event: bringing folks from all different sectors to the table to discuss new investments, cutting-edge innovations, and environmental stewardship efforts.”
Senator King is a strong supporter of efforts to revitalize Maine’s forest economy to further economic opportunities for Maine people. He was key in establishing the Forest Opportunity Roadmap Maine (FOR/ME) Initiative, an industry-led initiative that is helping to diversify the state’s wood products businesses, attract investments, support research and development, and develop greater economic prosperity for rural communities impacted by mill closures. The FOR/ME Initiative was funded as a result of the Economic Development Assessment Team (EDAT) requested by Senators Collins and King in 2016, with support from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration in order to create strategies for job growth and economic development in Maine’s rural communities. FOR/ME developed and is implementing a roadmap and action plan for the development of new markets for Maine’s forest resources, including the strengthening of existing forest products manufacturing, the attraction of investment in emerging technology, and the utilization of forest products residuals in CHP biomass plants, microgrids, modern thermal systems, and new forest products development. The FOR/ME Initiative has already resulted in multiple funding opportunities for Maine organizations and new investment in Maine’s forest economy.
As the Ranking Member of the Senate Subcommittee on National Parks, Senator King is recognized in Congress as a champion of efforts to preserve, protect, and promote America’s national parks and public lands. He is a lead sponsor of the Restore Our Parks Act, bipartisan legislation which would address the nearly $12 billion maintenance backlog without affecting the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Senator King has long advocated in favor of permanent reauthorization of the LWCF, which was signed into law as part of the public lands package in early March. In August, Senator King presented the inaugural ‘Senator Angus King Award for Conservation Excellence’. The award, which was created by the Rangeley Lakes Heritage Trust, will be an annual award given to environmental champions who work outside of the public spotlight to care for Maine’s environment.