Maine bridge and lighthouse
(Credit: Courtesy of Marina Schauffler, part of her series Sea Change, published in Pine Tree Watch )

Center for the Blue Economy Director of Research, Dr. Charles Colgan, is quoted in this article on Maine’s new Office of Policy Innovation and the Future. 

About fifty years ago, Maine established the State Planning Office (SPO) with a mandate to help new environmental and economic programs to coalesce.  SPO’s long-term vision ended in 2011, when former Gov. Paul LePage – seemingly more focused on the bottom line than the big picture – disbanded the office. He didn’t believe he needed policy research, reflects former Maine economist Dr. Charles Colgan, “which was wrong.”

One of current Governor Janet Mills’ first goals after taking office was to create a new “Office of Policy Innovation and the Future,” focused on everything from jobs to climate change. In fact, the governor just announced last week that Maine is joining the “U.S. Climate Change Alliance,” a group of 21 states and Puerto Rico committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting clean energy.   Appointed to head the new agency is Hannah Pingree, a former Speaker of the House and four-term legislator.

Clearly this is an area where the governor feels strongly that Maine needs to start moving forward, in an important and aggressive direction.  It’s not just the Department of Environmental Protection, it’s every part of state government that needs to be involved.
— Hannah Pingree, head of the Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future

Maine is taking steps to be 100 percent reliant on renewable energy by 2050, and clean energy measures draw broad bipartisan support. But planning efforts also must encompass neglected facets of climate change – like adaptation.

“There is almost no money going to this. And no one is really looking on a sustained basis” at its potential economic impacts.
— Charles Colgan, Director of Research, Center for the Blue Economy

The interconnected planning challenges that await Pingree’s team are formidable, but many view the new office with “tempered optimism.”  The Center for the Blue Economy applauds Governor Mills and the efforts and priorities of the Office of Policy Innovation and the Future. 


For More Information

Read the full article by Marina Schauffer:  Reviving the lost art of looking ahead

Read/View WGME TV news article:  First 100 Days: Office of Policy Innovation and the Future