Fred Bever

News Reporter and Producer

A Columbia University graduate, Fred began his journalism career as a print reporter in Vermont, then came to Maine Public in 2001 as its political reporter, as well as serving as a host for a variety of Maine Public Radio and Maine Public Television programs. Fred later went on to become news director for New England Public Radio in Western Massachusetts and worked as a freelancer for National Public Radio and a number of regional public radio stations, including WBUR in Boston and NHPR in New Hampshire.

Fred formerly was Maine Public Radio’s chief political correspondent from 2001 to 2007 and returned to Maine Public Radio in early 2016 as a news reporter and producer, covering a wide variety of topics across Maine and the region.

Ways to Connect

Toby Talbot / AP Photo

Governor Paul LePage is proposing to significantly reduce the area in which wind-turbine projects can get a streamlined permit review. Maine lawmakers, residents, businesses and environmental groups are divided on the issue.

Central Maine Power wants ratepayers to invest $200 million or more in Portland-area electricity infrastructure. But some lawmakers and the state’s utility watchdog say the company is underestimating the potential for alternatives that could be much cheaper and much better for the environment.

Center for Biological Diversity

The population of the endangered North Atlantic right whale took a big hit last year with a record number found dead in Canadian waters from ship strikes and entanglements. With this year's calving season ending and no new births observed, an ongoing debate over whether Maine's lobster industry poses a mortal threat to the species is gaining new urgency.

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.

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.”

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 South Portland high school student was arrested Thursday after fellow students told authorities he had been making threats on social media. Police say the student posted comments on Snapchat last night that included references to, quote, "shooting up the school."

Margaux Rioux / Maine Public File

Gov. Paul LePage’s administration wants electric and hybrid vehicle owners to pay a new annual fee of up to $250. That could make up for the gas taxes they avoid by driving ultra-efficient cars, the argument goes. But at a legislative hearing today, early adopters of the technologies turned out in force to oppose the measure.

Department of Transportation Commissioner David Bernhardt says a wave of electric vehicles is on its way to the state.

An audit committee for the University of Maine's Board of Trustees is strongly defending university leadership and the process it used to award negotiating rights for a big new energy contract. The committee acted after a newspaper report raised questions about the possible role of insider information in the award.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press File

Dozens turned out for a State House hearing Tuesday on state utilities’ response to the October windstorm that knocked out power for several days. The verdict from some municipal officials: a big fail.

Harpswell Select Board Chairman Richard Daniel said local emergency management officials were well-prepared for events such as the storm-caused power outages. But they weren’t prepared for CMP’s poor response.

The University of Maine is defending the initial award of a $100 million contract to provide renewable energy to its Orono campus after a Portland Press Herald report raised questions about insider influence — but the university is also conducting a new audit of the bidding process.

Last June, a university team chose an affiliate of the Con Edison company as the winning bidder over three other finalists for the multiyear energy contract. That didn’t seal the deal, but meant that Con Ed and the university would enter negotiations over a final contract.

Maine Public

Maine Senator Angus King is voicing skepticism about the contents of a memo House Republicans released Friday which purports to document FBI abuse of its surveillance authority when seeking warrants to spy on a member of President Trump's election campaign.

A state panel in New Hampshire on Thursday rejected a permit the Northern Pass power line project needs to move forward.

Just last week the project’s developers beat out others — including several in Maine — that bid for a massive renewable energy contract sought by Massachusetts.

The Northern Pass project would sluice electricity from Canada’s Hydro Quebec dam system through New Hampshire to Massachusetts customers.

The Cumberland County district attorney dropped action Thursday against nine people arrested last year for trespassing at the Portland offices of U.S. Sen. Susan Collins.

The senator asked the district attorney to not to charge the protesters — most of them religious leaders — if they agreed to donate $100 each to a victims compensation fund. Members of the multidenominational group were arrested and briefly held when they refused to leave her office to protest her support for a tax overhaul enacted last year.

Maine Public

A regional environmental group is suing Gov. Paul LePage over a moratorium on wind power development he imposed last week.

The Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) is asking a Cumberland County superior court to strike down the moratorium on Constitutional grounds.

"He's totally usurped the legislative process here," says Sean Mahoney, CLF's director for the state. Mahoney says that by suspending the state's existing framework for wind development, LePage is violating the principle of separation of powers.