Midcoast Conservancy engages with elected officials at the municipal and state levels to promote policies which ensure land and water resources are cared for and supported by all those who benefit from them. Working with other state and regional groups, we leverage our work to demonstrate the broad support for conservation of natural resources state-wide.

Legislative Update

March 16, 2017

Support Environmental Jobs for Youth!
Please support LD 894 – An Act To Increase Funding for the Youth Conservation Corps
Public Hearing on March 22 at 10:00am, Cross Office Building, Room 216

Midcoast Conservancy’s Youth Conservation Corps program hires three youth employees each year to help landowners address issues which can pollute our lakes and rivers. This program provides jobs and training in environmental fields using science and math. Our Youth conservation Corps program provides labor at no cost as our way of thanking landowners for addressing pollution issues and protecting our water quality.

The Maine Legislature is considering a bill which would provide $40,000 to Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) programs around the state. This money would be split between all the organizations which operate YCC crews, and is available to any organization which would like to start a YCC.

Your support will make a difference! This bill, LD 894, is scheduled to be heard before the Environment and Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday, March 22 at 10:00am. You can help in two ways:

  • Submit testimony directly to the committee without having to come to Augusta. Clearly indicate which bill you are referencing (LD 894) and that you support it. In a word document attached to your email, send the testimony to the Committee Clerk, Steven Langlin, at Steven.Langlin@Legislature.Maine.gov.
  • If you live in Palermo, Liberty, or Montville, your representative S. Paige Zeigler is on this committee. Contact him before the hearing on March 22 to tell him you support this bill and would like his support as well. Click here for Rep. Zeigler’s contact information.

See this page for more information about Midcoast Conservancy’s Youth Conservation Corps program and all the good work these talented students are able to accomplish.

Contact Garrison Beck for more information about submitting testimony or the bill itself.

Protect Maine’s Natural Resources!
Please oppose LD 1040 – An Act Regarding Permitting under the Natural Resources Protection Act
Public Hearing on March 30, 1:00pm, Cross Office Building, Room 216

Maine’s Natural Resources Protection Act (NRPA) is one of the fundamental laws which gives the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) the authority to protect Maine’s water resources. This includes rivers, streams, wetlands, groundwater, and lakes. Appropriate protection of these resources helps grow Maine’s economy in recreation and tourism, and is one of many reasons that Maine is so unique.

The Legislature is considering a bill which would amend the Natural Resources Protection Act in 13 different ways, many of which would significantly weaken the Act and cause direct harm to Maine’s water resources.

For example, one change would institute a more restrictive definition of what constitutes a stream, meaning fewer streams would be covered under the Act and thus be more prone to pollution.

Another change would not allow DEP to consider if an activity that would harm habitats and fisheries can be located elsewhere, a major principal in the Act’s successful history.

LD 1040, An Act Regarding Permitting under the Natural Resources Protection Act, is scheduled for a public hearing with the legislature’s Environment and Natural Resources committee on Thursday, March 30 at 1:00pm.  We need your help to defeat this bill that would be bad for Maine’s fisheries, property values, and economy. You can help by taking action in three ways:

  • Come to the hearing on March 30 at 1:00 in Augusta and testify in opposition to the bill. It will be held in Room 216 of the Cross Office Building.
  • Submit testimony directly to the committee without having to come to Augusta. Clearly indicate which bill you are referencing (LD 1040) and that you oppose it. In a word document attached to your email, send the testimony to the Committee Clerk, Steven Langlin, at Steven.Langlin@Legislature.Maine.gov.
  • If you live in Palermo, Liberty, or Montville, your representative S. Paige Zeigler is on this committee. Contact him before the hearing on March 30 to tell him you oppose this bill and would like him to vote in oppostion. Click here for Rep. Zeigler’s contact information.

Thank you for taking an important step to keep Maine’s water clean and open to everyone. Please contact Garrison Beck for more information about submitting testimony or the bill itself.

March 1, 2017

The 128th session of Maine’s citizen legislature is well under way and we at Midcoast Conservancy are keeping our eyes on several bills which would affect land and water conservation in the state. It is still relatively early in the session and less than half of the approximately 1,800 bills which were submitted have been printed, however some early public hearings have been scheduled.

Related to land conservation, there are a number of bills this session which will seek to change how nonprofit organizations are taxed on the land they hold, whether it be land trusts, universities, or hospitals. Recently printed is LD 727, An Act To Protect the Tax Base of Municipalities by Removing the Property Tax Exemption for Land Held for Conservation or Public Access Purposes. As its name suggests, this bill would specify that land held for conservation or public access purposes is not eligible for exemption from property taxes. We will continue to work closely with the Maine Coast Heritage Trust and many other partners to ensure our voice is heard and to provide local context for bills such as this.

In the water world, we are working on a number of bills which would enhance the value of Maine’s water resources. We have proposed a bill which has been sponsored by Representative Lydia Blume of York which would make many improvements to Maine’s Mandatory Shoreland Zoning Act. An Act To Improve Shoreland Zoning Rules and Enforcement To Support Municipalities would give towns and Code Enforcement Officers more tools to help them enforce one of the primary laws which protect our lakes and rivers from pollution caused by development.

We are also supporting two bills which address the inspections of septic systems. Unchecked, septic systems are potentially an out-of-sight source of major nutrient pollution to our water ways, contributing to harmful algae blooms. Two bills sponsored by Representative Gary Hilliard of Belgrade and Representative Lydia Blume of York address these issues. Rep. Hilliard’s bill, LD 559, would require septic systems in any shoreland zone, coastal or inland, to be inspected when the property is sold. Rep. Blume’s bill, LD 372, would require any septic system in the state to be inspected when the property is sold. Both bills have been scheduled for a public hearing on Tuesday, March 7 in front of the Committee on Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development.

Garrison Beck is Midcoast Conservancy’s registered lobbyist and has been tracking all of these issues. We will continue to post updates on our website to keep you informed and give you opportunities to provide testimony. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Garrison.

Contact Us

Garrison Beck is our representative to Maine’s Environmental Priorities Coalition, a partnership of 35 environmental, conservation and public health organizations representing over 100,000 members who work to protect the good health, good jobs and quality of life that our environment provides. Come back and visit here once the legislative session begins in 2017.

Together we are a force for nature!