The text of the three-page agreement signed in Woodstock, New Brunswick, by Gov. Paul LePage and New Brunswick Premier David Alward came my way this morning, laying out in more detail the terms of the pact that the state’s top international trade official said “is a starting point in terms of negotiations and prioritizing for the future.”
Here’s what the agreement sets out as its purpose:
The parties agree to promote cooperation and understanding between their respective governments for the purposes of improving public services and promoting their mutual interests in regional and international fora.
(That’s the plural of ‘forum.’ Fancy. Read the full agreement here.)
What’s new since yesterday’s reporting are more details on the committee that will be formed to implement parts of the agreement to share ideas and resources in the areas of economic development, tourism, transportation, energy and culture.
What we knew yesterday was that New Brunswick’s Deputy Minister or a designee would co-chair that committee with someone from Maine appointed by LePage. Nobody has been named to that post or to the committee yet and it’s not clear how many people will be involved.
What’s new in the full document is that the committee will produce a plan and then be required to take regular looks at its progress, including an annual report to the governor and the premier.
Perhaps the most interesting area of collaboration is energy, which remains perhaps the top regional concern across New England. It’s a focus of the governors and energy officials in all six states and that agreement has prompted a statement from the state’s two major power transmission utilities — Emera and CMP — that they would cooperate on infrastructure projects to transmit wind power from the northern parts of the state to southern New England.
That area is also the focus for Emera’s proposed 230-mile Northeast Energy Link project, which would run a 1,100 megawatt direct current transmission line from New Brunswick, through northern and eastern Maine to denser populations in southern New England.
With that in mind, the nature of the agreement could also change with little fanfare. it states the agreement can be terminated with written notice by either party or amended “at any time by exchange of letters.”