AUGUSTA

Order reissued to let fuel deliverers work longer hours

Gov. Paul LePage has extended an emergency order that allows fuel oil delivery truck drivers to stay on the road longer.

LePage issued an initial emergency declaration on Dec. 13 and another on Dec. 31. The latest covers the period from Jan. 19 through Feb. 8.

LePage said heating oil is in high demand due to cold weather and national storage and supply issues.

The emergency declaration allows drivers to continue to operate without following federal rules that limit their hours, although any driver who reports a need for immediate rest is required to be given at least 10 consecutive hours off.

Governor defends hiring of consultant on Medicare costs

Gov. Paul LePage used his weekly address to defend his hiring of a consultant to determine the cost of expanding Medicaid.

LePage said he’s getting blasted by opponents while the reality is that “the report provides a road map to save taxpayers money and improve services for the truly needy.”

The report by the Alexander Group found that expanding Maine’s Medicaid system under the federal health care overhaul would cost an estimated $807 million and add 266,000 people to the rolls over the first decade.

LePage said there’s already a wait list for services and Maine can’t afford to spend more on Medicaid.

– From staff and news services