Senate gives bipartisan support to Sen. Duson bill to create a blue economy task force

Posted: June 14, 2023 | Senator Duson

AUGUSTA — On Tuesday, the Maine Senate gave initial approval, 24-9, to a bill from Sen. Jill Duson, D-Portland. LD 1286, “Resolve, to Establish the Blue Economy Task Force to Support Maine’s Emergence as a Center for Blue Economy Innovation and Opportunity in the 21st Century,” would create a task force to study how to implement the sustainable use of ocean resources in economic development.

Senator Jill Duson

“Blue economy” refers to the sustainable use of ocean resources to promote economic health, improved livelihoods, good-paying jobs and ecosystem health. LD 1286 would ensure that Maine’s waterfront communities have the ability to address the climate crisis and stimulate economic growth.

“Maine is having its moment. We have the opportunity to establish our state as an international leader for innovation, investment and job growth through blue economy initiatives,” said Sen. Duson. “This bill would allow us to focus and unify our efforts to use blue economy goals to uplift waterfront communities throughout the state. This task force will support pathways for equitable, responsible and efficient growth to benefit all Mainers.”

This bill aims to unify interests throughout Maine’s ocean and seafood economic sectors to build sustainable economic development. It would be a mechanism to enable continued focus on this important work and to convene relevant stakeholders to clarify our state’s blue economy vision for the future. As amended by committee, the bill directs the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) to form a task force. The task force would consult with those representing relevant business sectors and federally recognized Indian tribes. The task force would submit a written report to the Governor’s Office and the Legislature’s Committee on Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement and Business by Feb. 1, 2024.

The scope of the task force would include:

  • Developing a description of the blue economy that includes references to relevant sectors;
  • Reviewing how other coastal states are planning for, or growing the blue economy in their state;
  • Identifying sectors within Maine’s economy that are already implementing blue economy goals and those that have the potential for the blue economy, but have not taken any action yet;
  • Developing an economic development plan to implement blue economy goals in sectors that have not taken action.

The task force would also ensure that strategies developed take existing action plans into account, such as the Maine Won’t Wait Climate Action plan.

LD 1286 now faces additional votes in the House and Senate.