Over the past two months, the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee has been wrestling with LD 1798, An Act To Reform Land Use Planning in the Unorganized Territory. At the public hearing in February, opponents outnumbered proponents of the bill by a 4:1 margin. People came to Augusta from all around the state to speak out in opposition to rolling back the Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC). But the Committee did not listen. Last week, the Committee amended and voted on the bill 8:5 along party lines, sending two versions of the bill to the full Legislature for a vote as soon as this week! We are now working to defeat the Majority Report and to build support for the Minority Report.
The Minority Report on LD 1798 makes reasonable changes in response to concerns about LURC. It would increase the responsiveness of the agency, lead to more regional planning, and ensure greater local involvement in LURC decision-making.
Contact Your Legislators Today!
Please contact your legislators today and urge them to oppose the Majority Report on LD 1798 and support the Minority Report!
The Majority Report on LD 1798 includes additional provisions that are extreme, dramatically increasing the power of county governments that put statewide interests at risk. The Majority Report hijacks an otherwise sensible package of changes and goes too far, too fast.
- Allow counties to opt out of LURC—essentially abolishing LURC one county at a time;
- Allow county commissioners to nominate themselves to LURC, leading to inevitable conflicts of interest;
- Increase bureaucratic red tape for applicants by dividing permitting responsibilities among four different entities: LURC, the Department of Environmental Protection, counties, and the Maine Forest Service;
- Cost taxpayers for duplicate permitting agencies in counties that “opt out” of LURC.
Maine’s North Woods is the largest undeveloped forest east of the Mississippi River. It truly is a special place. For the past 40 years, LURC has done a good job of balancing economic development and ecological protection in Maine’s North Woods. In order to ensure protections for it for future generations, we need to keep LURC strong by defeating the Majority Report to LD 1798!
The vote on the bill could happen this week!
Thank you for your support!