News & Notes

How Does Maine Audubon Work? Our Legislative Advocacy Efforts

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013
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While birding we use bills as one tool for bird species identification—we also use bills at the statehouse to promote best practices and inform legislative priorities that protect wildlife & habitat while drawing on our staff biologists’ science-based conservation work.

At Maine Audubon we draft bills and track existing bills to ensure good stewardship of Maine’s wildlife and habitat. With some bills, we make an effort to promote best practices within specific state agencies responsible for our wildlife and other natural resources, while other bills establish clear protections for rare and high value wildlife and habitat. Many of the bills we work on relate to other wildlife work we do and our comments and suggestions are based on our staff biologists’ science-based conservation work.

Deep relationships with individual legislators, across several legislative committees, and within some state agencies, built across 16 years of experience at the State House by Jennifer Burns Gray, Maine Audubon’s Staff Attorney and Advocate, inform these legislative priorities. She also builds strength and effectiveness through partnerships such as the Maine Environmental Priorities Coalition. Her advocacy efforts focus on reasoned improvements to existing law and proposed legislation that impact our mission. In addition, our conservation staff are available to provide expert testimony at public hearings. Our reputation of a trusted and respected voice at the State House comes from our homework, teamwork, and expertise.

We also often encourage our members and friends to speak up on critical issues by calling, writing, and testifying on certain bills.

You can join this community of guardians of Maine’s wildlife by calling or writing your legislators or by attending a public hearing to give voice to our shared concerns. Our email action alerts serve as a call to action and notify you when your help will be most effective.

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This year we will work on bills to: 1. Reduce mortality of common loons by banning the use and sale of some lead sinkers and jigs; 2. Improve the process for reviewing and permitting wind power projects; 3. Safeguard our water bodies from toxic mining; and 4. Ensure threatened and endangered wildlife are adequately protected.

Check out our Legislative Advocacy page regularly for more information and stay tuned – things can change very quickly on the legislative front!