Community energy development forum to feature Canadian chief

Models of Energy Self-Determination, a day-long forum focusing on community energy development, will be held at Bates April 25 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Chase Hall. Chief Abel Bosum of the Ouje-Bougoumou Cree First Nation will deliver the keynote address on his village’s award-winning alternative energy project at 9:45 a.m. Consumers, environmentalists, activists, students, business owners and government officials are invited to register for the forum by calling the Bates Office of Special Projects at 207-786-6077.

The Ouje-Bougoumou Cree First Nation in the James Bay Cree Territory of northern Quebec was selected by the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements as one of the 100 Best Practices in Improving Living Environments. A single boiler that burns wood waste products from nearby sawmills provides hot water to all the village’s homes and buildings, which feature energy efficient design. The village also was recognized with a U.N. 50 Communities Award for exemplifying the principles of the United Nations and sustainable development.

The conference begins at 8:30 a.m. with introductory remarks from John Smedley, associate professor of physics and director of the environmental studies program at Bates, and Pamela Prodan, director of the Renewable Energy Assistance Project.

At 8:45 a.m. there will be a panel discussion on Northern Forest Energy Issues with John Banks of the Penobscot Nation; Ron Huber, director of the Coastal Waters Project; Jo Josephson, president of the Western Maine Chapter of the National Audubon Society; Bill Namagoose, executive director of the Grand Council of the Crees of Quebec; Susan Sargent, vice chair of the Maine Chapter of the Sierra Club; and Conrad Schneider of the Northeast Clean Power Campaign.

Following Chief Abel Bosum’s keynote address, there will be a panel discussion at 10:45 a.m. on Challenges in Energy Deregulation with David Foley and Sarah Holland of Holland and Foley Building Design; Conrad Heeschen, former state legislator and member of the Utilities and Energy Committee; John Joseph, professor of economics at Thomas College and former director of the State Energy Office; and Jane Livingston, communications consultant for the Cooperative Development Institute.

From 1 to 2:15 p.m. participants will meet in small groups to discuss energy avoidance and reduction, local and regional energy initiatives, the role of government in alternative energy projects and “green-power” issues. The forum concludes with a discussion on overcoming obstacles and organizing activist efforts.

Registration, including lunch, is $15 and $30 for industry and government employees. A limited number of scholarships for low-income activists and students are available by calling Pamela Prodan, director of the Renewable Energy Assistance Project, at 207-645-9330.

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