Current Lake Legislation in Maine
2014 Initiatives we are Watching
The Maine Lakes Society publishes periodic reports on legislation to inform you about 2014 actions affecting lakes in the Maine State Legislature. We provide this service to assist lake users and stewards make their views known about bills that could impact their lives and the well-being of their communities. The following is a summary of 4 bills of interest to the lakes community. We will post updates here when these initiatives are scheduled for a hearing or a Work Session.
An Act to Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue to Ensure Clean Water and Safe Communities
This bill was introduced in 2013 and then tabled. We are working with numerous NGO partners and friends in the legislature to pass it in 2014. Known as the "Water Bond", it will create a fund to preserve Maine’s high quality water resources. The Fund will be used to conserve land such as lake watersheds, aquifer recharge areas and forested headwaters and to improve man-made structures such as stream crossings, roads and culverts. Increasing pressure on lake ecosystems from climate change and development, coupled with budget cuts and agency downsizing make this vital measure one that all of us should actively support. Stay tuned and tell your friends!
LD 1626: An Act to Leverage Expert, State-based Resources for Emergent Vegetation and Long-term Comprehensive Resource Protection of our Lakes
This bill was originally drafted to provide funding for the removal of invasive aquatic plants on lakes that exceed 10,000 acres in size. We worked with the sponsor to amend it such that all funds raised would be available to assist in the removal of invasive aquatic plants from ALL lakes that CURRENTLY have infestations. The funds will be generated by a small increase in Resident boat registration fees and an increase in the Non-resident "milfoil sticker fees". We testified in support of them amended bill on January 14th. The work session will be held in February and we let you know the data and time as soon as possible.
LD 1744: An Act to Protect Maine Lakes
This bill is a comprehensive, common sense and effective piece of legislation that was drafted in collaboration with some of the State's most renowned lake scientists and practitioners. It has several provisions, including, but not limited to: filling DEP Lake Unit vacancies; prohibiting the application of lawn treatments/polluting chemicals within 25 feet of the shoreline; creating a photographic record of the shorelines of Maine's lakes to assist in effective enforcement; providing education and certification programs for municipal officials and landscapers; and evaluating the efficacy of LakeSmart under out administration and the subsequent funding of the program. The hearing date for this bill has not been set, but we will let you know as soon as it is.
LD 1694: An Act to Improve Water Quality in Maine Lakes
This bill provides funding for two incredibly effective and statewide lake protection and data collection programs that are currently administered by non-profit organizations: LakeSmart, Maine Lakes' signature program and the water quality monitoring program administered by the Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program (VLMP). The hearing date for this bill has not been set, but the hope is that it will be heard at the same time as LD 1744. We will keep you posted.
Please share this with interested friends.
Rebecca Kurtz, Executive Director
Maine Lakes Society