The Department of the Interior is proposing to open nearly all of the nation’s coastline to exploratory drilling for oil and gas. The feds held an open house in Augusta Wednesday to collect public comment, which was largely in firm opposition.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Republican Gov. Paul LePage has yet to thoroughly review a Trump administration plan to vastly expand offshore areas of the outer continental shelf to potential oil and gas exploration.  The new five-year National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program would open most offshore areas of Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic to drilling from 2019 to 2024, including the Gulf of Maine.

 In this April 26, 2017, photo, gas is pumped at a filling station in Nashville, Tenn. By air or car, summer 2017 travel numbers are expected to rise over the previous year thanks to deals on airfares and stable gasoline prices.
AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, file

If you filled the tank this week, you might have noticed gasoline prices are down about a nickel-a-gallon in the last week. It’s the biggest price change in a while. GasBuddy.com analyst Patrick DeHahn says it’s the result of “a fairly organized” drop in the price of crude oil.

Until recently, the public could get details from the state about shipments of crude oil and other hazardous materials moving through Maine by rail.

But now, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection has stopped providing this information, as the attorney general reviews a change to the state's Freedom of Access Law.

The tweak, in a bill passed earlier this year over Governor Paul LePage's objection, says information about hazardous rail shipments, provided to emergency responders, can be kept private.


There have been no large-scale shipments of oil by rail in Maine since last October. But, in a story published by the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, such shipments could resume at any time, and that much of the state remains unprepared for a rail oil disaster like the one with struck Lac Megantic, Quebec last July.

Marina Villeneuve, who researched and wrote the story for the center, sat down for a conversation.

Marina Villeneuve's story was published online, and in several Maine newspapers.

Court documents in an old tax dispute indicate that the owners of a pipeline that crosses Maine - and could be used to transport tar sands oil - is several years past its retirement date.

The National Wildlife Federation has uncovered court documents from an old tax dispute that it says show yet another reason why any plan by the Exxon-owned Portland Pipe Line Corp. to transport tar sands oil through the pipeline that runs across Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont is risky. Jim Murphy is senior counsel for the National Wildlife Federation's northeast regional center.