AUGUSTA – Lawmakers examining what went wrong with a now-defunct group that was awarded more than $1 million to encourage energy efficiency say the investigation is moving forward, now that their requests for additional information have been met.

Members of the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee had been waiting for financial documents from Seth Murray, former executive director of the Maine Green Energy Alliance, detailing its expenses.

After about a month since a public hearing on the issue and two letters from the committee requesting information, Murray said Wednesday that he had sent the paperwork.

“That information just went off today,” he said. “Their requests required hundreds and hundreds of documents being pulled together, and I think it’s important that we get it right. … I thought we were being pretty responsive.”

The energy alliance was awarded a $1.1 million federal grant to promote weatherization to homeowners, but was criticized for failing to meet its goals. The group’s board voted in January to end operations.

The alliance’s remaining $500,000 in grant money was transferred to Efficiency Maine Trust, a quasi-state agency that oversees energy efficiency.

The situation has political implications because of media reports on how the alliance was formed, who was hired to work for it, and allegations by the Maine Republican Party that Democrats got preferential treatment.

State Rep. Stacey Fitts, R-Pittsfield, House chairman of the committee, said the request for information was not a “witch hunt” but an attempt to sort out fact from fiction.

“Some of the things that have come to light have raised questions, and I think it’s just important that we decide for ourselves and then create a package, or at least a legislative history, so that if it’s going to be passed on to anybody else to continue a review, that we’ve done our due diligence,” he said. “The obvious questions are the political ones.”

Sen. Phil Bartlett, D-Gorham, said the additional information will be helpful.

“A lot of questions were raised, and I think we need to see what the answers to those are and take it from there,” he said. “My sense has been that Efficiency Maine Trust did the right thing in terms of identifying the problem and putting a stop to the expenditure of resources.”

Fitts said he hopes the committee will complete its review in April and issue any recommendations it has.

“I don’t think the energy committee is that interested in trying to solve those (political) questions and become the agency to get into the ethical issues or anything like that, but we also have a responsibility,” he said.

Contact MaineToday Media State House Writer Rebekah Metzler at 620-7016 or at:

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