WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King and Representatives Bruce Poliquin and Chellie Pingree issued the following statement today in response to the release of the Economic Development Assessment Team (EDAT) recommendations for Maine’s forest economy and more than $1.5 million in associated federal grants:
“Maine’s forest products industry is an integral part of our state’s heritage, and, as this report demonstrates, it will be essential to our state’s economic future. That’s why we wholeheartedly commend the hardworking men and women of Maine’s forest industry and the Economic Development Assessment Team who have collaborated day-in and day-out over the course of the past several months to arrive at this critical point,” Senators Collins and King and Representatives Poliquin and Pingree said in a joint statement. “It is our hope that the recommendations outlined in this report, combined with federal funding and additional commitments from several agencies, will provide a beneficial strategic roadmap that will drive economic growth in our forest economy and lead to the creation of stable, good-paying jobs for people in rural communities across Maine. We look forward to working with Maine’s forest industry to implement the vision of this report, and we pledge to continue to do all that we can to support this vital part of our economy.”
The EDAT, which Senators King and Collins originally requested in March 2016, and which has been supported by Representatives Poliquin and Pingree, is an integrated, multiagency team that brought together local, state, and federal partners to work together to build a bottom-up strategy to foster innovation and commercialization for the future of Maine’s forest-based economy. The report released today is the culmination of those efforts and is accompanied by $1.5 million in federal grants aimed at addressing critical needs.