Business and Economy

Business news

Developers Behind Massive Portland Project Accused Of ‘Shell Game,’ Fraud

May 18, 2018
Troy R. Bennett / Bangor Daily News

A construction company is suing the developers behind an ambitious housing project, once expected to transform a troubled Portland neighborhood, for fraud.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP Photo

Both of Maine's U.S. senators have joined a majority of their colleagues by voting to block a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plan to repeal net neutrality rules. However, Democratic Representative Chellie Pingree says the measure may never get a vote in the House.

“The Republicans would much rather not take a vote on this and I think that is a big mistake. I actually think it will be an election year issue,” Pingree says.


Maine’s Public Consumer Advocate is calling on state regulators to launch a full review of Central Maine Power’s (CMP) billing complaints and discrepancies. 

Canadian Salmon Firm Admits Using Lobster-Killing Pesticide Near Maine Border

May 17, 2018
Robert F. Bukaty / Maine Public

For the second time in five years, a Canadian salmon aquaculture firm has admitted in a New Brunswick courtroom to illegally using a pesticide known to kill lobsters for treating salmon off an island that abuts the Maine border.

The federal government says Maine had one of the top ten gains in "real personal income," in 2016.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis figures, released Thursday, show real personal income rose 2.2 percent that year. It was the fastest rate of real income growth in New England.

What makes these income figures "real" in government-speak is that they take into account both inflation and the relative cost of living between Maine and the rest of the country.

Maine's U.S. senators are joining 61 of their colleagues in a call for the Federal Communications Commission to advance broadband services in rural America.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins and independent Sen. Angus King are joining other senators in sending a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. The senators say improving accessibility of broadband is necessary to make sure rural residents have “access to high quality voice and broadband services.”

The senators say they support a recent order that addressed budget shortfalls in the Universal Service Fund's high-cost program.

Irwin Gratz / Maine Public

An index of real estate development in Maine has hit its all-time high.

The "MEREDA" index says there is more development going on around the state than before the Great Recession. Paul Peck, the President of the Maine Real Estate and Development Association, says the biggest driver has been commercial development, despite the challenges facing brick-and-mortar retailers.

Paul Chiasson / The Canadian Press via AP

It’s been nearly five years since a runaway oil train derailed on a curve in the downtown of Lac Megantic, Quebec, which is not far from the Maine border. Several cars ruptured, their fuel exploding in a fireball that killed 47 people.

Since then, many in the town have wanted the railroad track to go away. Friday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau granted their wish.

CONCORD, N.H. - Gas prices are still climbing in northern New England.
GasBuddy's daily survey of gas outlets in Maine found that average retail gasoline prices in the state have risen 4.2 cents per gallon in the past week, to an average of $2.86 per gallon.

Irving Unveils Its Plans For 51,000 Acres In Fish River Lakes Chain

May 13, 2018
Land Planning Commission

The public gets its first opportunity to comment on a plan to rezone 51,000 acres within the Fish River Chain of Lakes at two public hearings later this month in northern Maine.

J.D. Irving’s proposed concept plan asks the Maine Land Use Planning Commission to allow new commercial and residential development around the lakes in addition to conservation plans and continued logging operations.

Lobster Industry Fears Weaker Shells, But Evidence Is Mixed

May 13, 2018
Robert F. Bukaty / AP Photo

More people outside the U.S. are enjoying the New England tradition of cracking open a freshly cooked American lobster, and that experience hinges on one thing — the lobster getting there alive.

A Norwegian firm that plans to build one of the largest land-based salmon farms of its kind in Maine says it has confirmed that the site is suitable to host the facility.

Nordic Aquafarms wants to build a 40-acre inland salmon farm capable of producing more than 60 million pounds of fish per year. The firm says tests confirm that its planned Belfast site has ``clean, abundant and sustainable groundwater'' from test wells.

Chris Jamison / BDN

For the past two decades Maine’s lobster industry, which had $433 million worth of landings in 2017, has been lauded and envied as a model for how conservation practices can help a fishery thrive.

Veterinary technology company Idexx has broken ground on a major expansion in in Westbrook.

The project will cost the company $62 million. It will add a multilevel, 135,000-square-foot expansion to the existing global headquarters. It is scheduled to open late next year.

Spokesman Pete DeWitt says more space is important for the growing company.

“We’re adding all sorts of different types of talent, because with the growth of our business comes a need for more people, new scientists, new people in research and development, new marketers,” he says.

Chefs, fishermen, scientists and others are coming together in Maine to try to find a tasty way to solve New England's invasive crab problem.

The green crabs are a growing problem for New England's environment and economy, in part because they feast on marketable coastal shellfish. The crabs themselves are not worth much because there isn't a consumer market for them.