BANGOR — Independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler vowed to “rebuild” Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection and create a Maine Energy Finance Authority to provide capital for energy projects if elected in November.

Cutler laid out his energy and environment policies during a Tuesday morning news conference at Gomez Park while touting his work with the late Sen. Ed Muskie.

“Imagine a different and better approach to governing,” Cutler said in his policy announcement. “Imagine a state where government’s decisions are made based on evidence, not ideology.”

The first of Cutler’s five-part environmental initiative was to “rebuild and strengthen” Maine’s DEP, “restoring its integrity and funding and providing the department with the staffing levels, competence, expertise and leadership that it needs to discharge its responsibilities,” according to policy documents.

Under Cutler, the DEP would increase protections of waterways through oversight of municipal water systems, and help cities and towns “coming to grips with the monumental financial challenges” of funding improvements to stormwater runoff and aging sewer systems, Cutler said.

Cutler also pledged to reduce carbon emissions produced by the transportation industry. He said the state would accomplish this in cooperation with other states in the region and Canadian provinces by implementing regional clean fuels standards, increasing the number of zero-emissions vehicles by 15 percent by 2025, and encouraging increased use of rail, buses, carpooling and bikes.

“ Climate change is real, and human activity is its chief cause,” Cutler said.

Cutler said he would “re-double” the state’s efforts to build renewable energy infrastructure, including onshore and offshore wind, biofuels, as well as geothermal, tidal and solar energy. He also wants to see the state continue to push for increased natural gas pipeline capacity.

Maine also would create an Energy Finance Authority under the Finance Authority of Maine “to provide low-cost capital for 21st-century energy projects that promise to make energy more affordable for citizens and businesses.”

Cutler vowed to “make government work better” and reform the regulatory process to promote private sector innovation and investment in energy. Cutler said that would include a study to examine long-term risks to Mainers presented by climate change. The state also would eliminate or change regulations that levy unnecessary costs or delays on energy investments.

Accompanying a news release rolling out Cutler’s policies was an editorial from Edmund Muskie Jr., son of the staunch environmental politician who pushed forward the Clean Air and Clean Water acts. The editorial was published in March in the Bangor Daily News.

Cutler worked as a legislative assistant to Muskie, helping the senator craft the Clean Air and Water acts, according to Muskie Jr.

“Examine the records of all the candidates for governor this year,” Muskie wrote. “Only one measures up to the leadership standards Dad set, and that’s Eliot Cutler.”

Cutler’s Energy and Environment press packet by thisdog

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