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Gov. Mills creates new commission to study storm resiliency

Gov. Janet Mills speaks about a new commission to study storm resiliency at the Stonington Lobster Co-op Tuesday.
Kaitlyn Budion
/
Maine Public
Gov. Janet Mills speaks about a new commission to study storm resiliency at the Stonington Lobster Co-op Tuesday.

Gov. Janet Mills signed an executive order today to create a new commission on preparing for and responding to severe storms.

Just this month Mills requested a federal disaster declaration for the January storms that devastated much of the coast, the eighth such request Mills has sought in the last two years. Mills said the state cannot keep enduring storms and rebuilding, and that infrastructure needs to be made more resilient.

"Look, now is the time for us to take bold and urgent steps to protect the Maine that we all know and love and cherish, protect it for our children and grandchildren," Mills said.

Linda Nelson, the economic and community development director for the town of Stonington, is one of the chairs of the commission. She said that despite Stonington preparing for the realities of climate change, the town was hit hard by storms in January.

"We're not fast enough," Nelson said. "This commission, if it does anything, hopefully will put speed in our process, because the climate is moving faster than any of us are. We're behind."

The 24-member commission includes state and local officials with a variety of expertise. Commissioners will create a report on short-term rebuilding priorities by November, and a long-term resilience plan by next May.

Kaitlyn Budion is Maine Public’s Bangor correspondent, joining the reporting team after several years working in print journalism.