Business and Economy

Business news

Maine tourism spending continues to break records, according to the Maine Innkeepers and Maine Restaurant associations that monitor annual revenue receipts.

Steve Hewins, the associations’ CEO, says the restaurant and lodging sectors brought in a combined $3.8 billion in revenue last year, when about 36 million tourists visited Maine.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

For those who dream of living “off the grid,” the motivation might be to leave smaller carbon footprint or to avoid the prohibitive cost of running utility lines hundreds of feet to a home off-the-beaten path.

After losing a lengthy lawsuit, the LePage administration is finally releasing millions of dollars in job training funds to Maine's regional workforce boards. But now proposed requirements on how to spend the money have some workforce board officials unsure if they can build the state's job training system back up to what it once was.

Mild Temperatures Get Maine's Maple Season Off To Sweet Start

Mar 3, 2018
Gabor Degre / Bangor Daily News

The sky was blue and the snow underfoot — what little remained of it — was soft on Wednesday morning as Chris and Shelley Simmons and two of their daughters collected sap from metal buckets hanging on the maple trees in the sugarbush behind their Morrill farm.

Fred Bever / Maine Public

Maine's lobster harvest dropped more than 15 percent last year, according to data just released by the state Department of Marine Resources. But even if the haul was down, it's still the sixth highest on record.

Willis Ryder Arnold / Maine Public

Maine Lobstermen's Association President Dave Cousens has watched the industry grow over nearly 30 years. "You know, it's like rolling Lucky Sevens going into a casino," he says. "I mean, we've been doing everything good, and everything's happened right with the environment for the last 20 years. Things are now probably going to go the other way." Cousens announced his retirement earlier this month and will hand off the baton at this weekend's Fisherman's Forum, in Rockport.  Maine Public's Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz caught up with Cousens to discuss his years at the helm of one of Maine's most prominent industries.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

SEATTLE - Outdoor retailer L.L. Bean will no longer sell rifles to anyone under 21.
The company joined retail heavyweights Walmart and Dick's Sporting Goods in changing policies in the wake of the Florida school massacre.
L.L. Bean said in a statement late Thursday that it will no longer sell guns or ammunition to anyone under the age of 21.
Company spokeswoman Carolyn Beem says L.L. Bean only sells firearms at its flagship store in Maine and only guns specific to hunting and target shooting.

Maine Public

Governor Paul LePage wants to use part of a projected increase in state revenues to pay for more tax cuts. He’s included that proposal into a bill that would conform Maine tax laws to changes in the federal tax code enacted in December.

Jay Field / Maine Public

Lawmakers scrutinizing a biomass generator’s track record of unpaid bills are now questioning whether the firm even qualified for a slice of a $13.4 million taxpayer bailout that benefited the firm two years ago.


The LePage administration is endorsing legislation to build a new pre-release center in Washington County. However, lawmakers are concerned that the new center would do little to offset the impact of closing of the Downeast Correctional Facility.

Aaron Chadbourne, a senior policy advisor to Governor LePage, told members of the legislature’s criminal Justice committee that the new facility would house only 20 inmates while the recently-closed Downeast Correctional Facility held as many as 150.

Federal regulators are rejecting an environmental group’s allegations that regional natural gas distributors unnecessarily withheld pipeline capacity during times of high demand, costing energy consumers billions of dollars.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission says based on its own review, the Environmental Defense Fund’s report was “flawed and led to incorrect conclusions about the alleged withholding.”

The Portland Jetport had its busiest year in 2017, with more than 1.8 million passengers.

Assistant Airport Director Zach Sundquist says this is largely down to an increase in flights on already-existing routes, so more seats are available to fly to Washington, D.C., or Charlotte, for example.

“All those additional seats are just more frequency for business travelers, and leisure travelers, to get in and out of Maine,” he says.

Sundquist says some airlines are flying bigger planes, with a business-class section.

State utility regulators are launching an inquiry into complaints about billing errors Central Maine Power customers say started to surface late last year.

Public Utilities Commission member Bruce Williamson says CMP’s error-prone rollout of a new billing system coincided with outages in the wake of the late October windstorm, creating an unhappy combination.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

The site of the former Verso Paper Co. in Bucksport, which shut its doors four years ago, will be home to an entirely new business.

Whole Oceans has reached an agreement to acquire more than 120 acres of the site and build a $250 million land-based salmon farm. The company says it plans to use water from the Penobscot River, and has developed an advanced water filtering system to remove any contaminants left behind by industry.

PORTLAND, Maine - The East Coast mackerel fishery will face new restrictions because fishermen have exceeded their limit for two other species.
Fishermen bring Atlantic mackerel to shore from Maine to North Carolina. The fishermen are given a limit to the amount of river herring and shad they are also allowed to catch.