Legislative Update – March 1, 2024

With 47 days left until Statutory Adjournment, committees are working diligently on the bills that remain. This week, the Council testified on two bills.

On Monday, we testified in opposition to LD 2007, “An Act to Advance Self-determination for Wabanaki Nations.” As introduced, the bill is largely a repeat of legislation that we strongly opposed last session (LD 2004) due to jurisdictional concerns on environmental issues. At the public hearing, however, it became clear that the Judiciary Committee will be presented with an amended version ahead of the Work Session that focuses on three primary objectives – criminal law, land acquisition and the application of beneficial federal laws. The Council will continue to closely monitor this legislation, and we look forward to the opportunity to review the suggested amendment.


On Wednesday, Speaker Talbot Ross introduced LD 2212, “An Act To Strengthen Maine’s Agriculture, Food System And Forest Products Infrastructure Investment” to the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee. This bill seeks to fund the program established last session by LD 1670. As drafted, the Council opted to not take a position on LD 2212, however, at the public hearing, Speaker Talbot Ross indicated her support for an amendment to ensure that all Maine-based agricultural and forest products businesses qualify for the program, regardless of where raw materials are sourced from. The Council agrees with the Speaker’s suggestion, and so we testified in support of that amendment.


As you will see, next week is a light week for legislative issues pertaining to the Council, however, that break will give us the time that is needed to shift our full focus on the public hearing before the Board of Protections on the DEP’s proposed rules for Chapter 375: No Adverse Environmental Effect Standards of the Site Location of Development Act.

The Council strongly opposes the proposal as presented, and we are encouraging our members to testify at the meeting next Thursday at the Civic Center, or submit comments urging the BEP to return the proposal to the DEP pending a stakeholder process that includes the landowner community.

This draft, which was released in response to LD 1881 that passed last year, in our opinion, goes far beyond the directive of Chapter Law 448.

Under the DEP’s proposal, roughly 14.5 million acres, or 79 percent of Maine’s undeveloped forest, would be designated as a protected resource under Site Location of Development Laws for renewable energy projects under an arbitrary and overly broad new category of “large undeveloped habitat blocks.” The Department has proposed a rigid mitigation formula of 1:1 for any and all impacts to this new resource category, regardless of actual impacts to wildlife.

For more information on the Council’s position, see our recent membership alert here.

The public hearing will take place on Thursday at 9:00 am at the Civic Center. Public comments will be accepted through March 18. For more information, click here.

As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Pat and Krysta

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