October 03, 2019
BRUNSWICK, ME – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) took part in the launch of the Open Technology Ecosystem for Agricultural Management (OpenTEAM) at Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment in Freeport. The event, which was also attended by Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) celebrated the new collaborative initiative that will focus on improving soil health as part of a solution to climate change.
“Climate change isn’t something that can be tackled by one group alone – each of us must do our part to face this existential crisis that threatens our world,” said Senator King. “The OpenTEAM Initiative will help Maine farmers continue to grow their unparalleled agricultural products while simultaneously taking important steps to improve soil health and mitigate climate change. Today launches an important tool for our farmers, and I look forward to seeing all that this project will accomplish.”
A forceful advocate for clean energy solutions, Senator King is the lead sponsor on a range of bills that encourage energy efficiency such as the Next Generation Grid Resources and Infrastructure Development (GRID) Act to improve energy independence, foster innovation, and leverage federal resources to support a more resilient and modern electric grid. In a May hearing, Senator King highlighted the grave dangers posed by rapidly rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere, and emphasized the importance of global collaboration in order to fully and effectively respond to the threats of climate change. In April, he published a column on Earth Day laying out the ambitious and attainable steps America must take to respond to the challenges of climate change. In February, Senator King took to the Senate floor to urge action on climate change. He strongly opposed the Administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.
Senator King has been a strong advocate for Maine farmers by helping to assist them to widen their markets. In June, Senator King introduced bipartisan legislation to allow meat and poultry products inspected by state Meat and Poultry Inspection (MPI) programs to be sold across state lines. In May, Senator King introduced the PRIME Act to help small farmers bypass burdensome federal regulations for locally produced meats. Also in May, Senator King joined a bipartisan group of Senators in introducing the Agricultural Export Expansion Act of 2019, legislation to remove a major hurdle for American farmers and ranchers aiming to sell American agricultural products in the Cuban market. In December 2018, Congress passed the Farm Bill with overwhelming bipartisan support. The bill included a number of King-backed provisions to support innovation and create new opportunities for the Maine’s agricultural communities.
Later in the day, Senator King, co-chair of the Senate Arctic Caucus, met with leadership at the Maine North Atlantic Development Office (MENADO) and Maine International Trade Center (MITC), where he received a briefing in advance of the group’s trip to the Arctic Assembly in Iceland. Senator King also toured the UPS Maine facility in South Portland. UPS employs more than 1,000 people in Maine.
Senator King is an advocate for Maine’s interests in the North Atlantic and Arctic region, and has worked in Washington to advance Maine’s leadership in the High North. He welcomed MENADO Director Dana Eidsness on the August edition of his Inside Maine podcast to discuss economic opportunities for Maine businesses in North Atlantic markets. They briefly previewed MENADO’s upcoming trip to the Arctic Assembly. In 2015, Senator King traveled to Iceland, where he participated in the Arctic Circle Assembly Plenary Session, speaking to the national security, climate change, economic issues that make the region a significant policy priority for the U.S. In October 2016, Senator King joined Maine people and leaders from around the globe to attend the Arctic Council conference at the University of Southern Maine’s Portland Campus.