N.E. governors gather for Maine summit
Holding talks with premiers from Canada
BAR HARBOR, Maine - New England's governors and premiers from eastern Canada have huddled in this coastal resort town to discuss energy, economic development, and transportation issues that face both regions.
Talks are expected to begin during today's all-day agenda for the group's 32d annual conference. Yesterday's agenda called for golf, registration, and a late-afternoon reception.
"It's about networking so they can get down to a personal level before they get down to business," said Joy Leach, a spokeswoman for Governor John Baldacci of Maine, who is co-chairing the event with Shawn Graham, the premier of New Brunswick.
The meetings rotate each year between a New England state and one of the eastern Canada provinces. Last year's conference was held in Prince Edward Island, whose premier, Robert W. J. Ghiz, was the only one of the five Canadian and six American leaders to cancel plans to attend this year's event.
Baldacci called the conference a "historic opportunity for us to share ideas, work toward common goals, and to build relationships. While each state and province faces unique challenges, we are all connected by economics, culture, and geography. We are all stronger when we recognize those similarities and build upon them."
David Wilkins, the US ambassador to Canada, and Michael Wilson, the Canadian ambassador to the United States, were both planning to address a session today to discuss relations between the two countries.
The head of New England's and New Brunswick's power generation and transmission systems and Hydro Quebec USA plan to lead a discussion on a regional energy electricity system.
Maine's membership in ISO New England has come under question in Maine, where Baldacci this year signed into law a bill that sets the stage for Maine's possible withdrawal. The law triggers action if the state Public Utilities Commission determines that ending Maine's membership is in the state's best interest.
Sessions today will also look at transportation connections between the two regions, opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in transportation, and regional economic issues.