Many of Maine's environmental protections were under attack in the 2012 legislative session, which is wrapping up in May, and so far there have been mixed results.
The good news:
- Gov. LePage's effort to promote big hydropower from Canada at the expense of Maine's renewable energy standard failed.
- "Land for Maine's Future" Program Director position was restored, after being eliminated by the LePage administration.
- Land Use Planning Commission will retain its oversight mission for the Maine Woods, and counties will not be allowed to opt out.
Now the bad news:
- Weakening the state's mining standards, which may lead to contamination of groundwater and taxpayers footing the bill for cleaning up polluted, abandoned mines. Sierra Club will advocate for the strongest possible environmental standards during the upcoming rulemaking process on mining regulations.
- Abolishing of the State Planning Office.
- Approval of a $300,000 study of a proposed $2 billion East-West Highway from Calais through Dover-Foxcroft to Coburn Gore. We believe this study to be a shameful waste of taxpayer dollars, and we plan to vigorously fight any highway plan that would devastate Maine communities and special natural places. The highway scheme, however, provides a fresh opportunity to advocate for utilizing the existing East-West rail line across Maine.
Still to be decided when the legislature resumes on May 15:
- Much-needed "Land for Maine's Future" bond.
- "Takings" bill, the most far reaching, anti-environmental proposal we’ve seen in years. Takings would give taxpayer money to developers to pay them to follow new land use and environmental laws, or force the state to waive the laws altogether! (For more information on takings, click here).
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Please contact your State Senator today and urge him/her to vote NO on the Takings “Minority” report and to instead support the "Majority" report.
Thanks for all that you do to protect Maine’s environment.
Maine Chapter Director
P.S. - You're invited to stop by our office during Portland’s First Friday Art Walk on May 4 from 5 pm-8 pm. We are having an open house for drinks and conversation with fellow Sierra Club supporters. We’re at 44 Oak Street (at Free St.), Suite 301. Hope to see you there!
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