- Associated Press - Monday, January 11, 2016

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - A legislative committee on Monday gave its unanimous endorsement to the governor’s nominee to become the next commissioner of Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection.

Paul Mercer, a Maine Maritime Academy administrator and former engineering professor, has worked with renewable energy, solid fuels and biomass energy systems, and helped develop a system that cut emissions in half at the Bucksport paper mill.

With the endorsement of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, his nomination now goes to the full Senate for a vote as early as Thursday.

If he’s confirmed, Mercer would replace former Commissioner Patricia Aho, who stepped down in September. During her tenure, she clashed with environmental groups but also won accolades for streamlining and modernizing the DEP’s approach to doing business.

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