Thanks to the Press Herald for highlighting GO Lab’s $85 million investment, converting the shuttered Madison paper mill into the nation’s first wood-fiber insulation plant.

Readers should be heartened that Maine’s former industrial centers, largely shuttered by the economic pressures of the past few decades, could be revived as hubs for rural Maine’s 21st century economy. Wood fiber insulation and other innovative forest products, like cross-laminated timber and bioplastics, show promise as high wage job creators and climate-friendly growth prospects. With the help of supportive programs, like GO Lab’s Finance Authority of Maine and New Markets Tax Credit loans, these industries can grow, and be as beneficial environmentally as they are economically.

Even more reason for Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King to champion a national carbon pricing policy, like the Energy Innovation Carbon Dividend Act (HR2307). A tax on carbon would incentivize Maine’s new generation of wood products industries to capitalize fully on their inherent advantage over carbon-heavy construction materials like cement, steel, and traditional foam insulation. By returning the carbon tax proceeds equally to citizens on a per-capita basis, HR2307 would result in a net income gain for lower and middle income Mainers.

As the European Union, the United Kingdom, and likely Canada, begin to levy carbon tariffs on US manufacturers, our congressional delegation can support Maine’s forest products economy, fight climate change and reclaim US innovation leadership by supporting a price on carbon. Please contact our lawmakers today and urge their support for HR2307.

Tom Rumpf
David Vail,
emeritus professor of economics
Bowdoin College

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