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As Congress and presidential candidates trade accusations over immigration reform, advocates and experts urge caution in spreading misinformation; Alabama takes new action IVF policy following controversial court decision; and central states urge caution with wildfires brewing.

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Congress reaches a deal to avoid a partial government shutdown again. Arizona Republicans want to ensure Trump remains on their state ballot and Senate Democrats reintroduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

Report Recommends Slew of Climate, Labor Policies for Maine

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Wednesday, March 2, 2022   

A new report outlines steps Maine could take to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and pollution, create new jobs and build more equitable and resilient communities. It comes on the heels of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change finding that the window to reverse the impacts of climate change is closing.

Kilton Webb, a fourth-year apprentice with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 567 who has worked on a solar field and other clean-energy projects, said it means a lot to be part of the transition to a clean economy.

"For me, building up labor standards goes hand in hand with building the renewable-energy infrastructure," he said. "We need a well-trained and highly skilled workforce to complete all these coming clean-energy jobs."

The report from Cornell University said Maine could work to electrify transportation and make new housing and schools more energy-efficient. On the labor side, it recommended making sure energy projects follow prevailing wage and apprenticeship requirements, strengthen collective bargaining and create career pathways for people most affected by climate change, as well as workers transitioning out of the fossil-fuel industry.

Mike Frager, a bus operator for Greater Portland Metro and vice president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 714, said he sees a huge opportunity to electrify buses, noting that Maine's school buses travel more than 31 million miles each year.

"We need to expand our public-transit systems as well, especially in rural areas," he said. "Every passenger I pick up is potentially a car off the road, which is good not only for the climate but also improves air quality and reduces traffic congestion."

The bipartisan infrastructure bill signed into law last year includes millions of federal dollars for public transit and electric-vehicle charging. Maine transit agencies are expected to receive roughly $241 million over five years, and Maine is set to get $19 million for electric-vehicle charging infrastructure.


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House Bill passed with an overwhelming vote of 94-6, with three abstentions. Its companion, Senate Bill 159, passed unanimously with a vote of 34-0. (Chad Robertson/Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

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