Close this search box.

Maine Audubon in Augusta: Important Final Updates

The Maine Legislature is nearing the end of an active and productive session. Though today is the last day on its formal calendar, there is still a lot of work to do and the Maine Audubon team expects that the Legislature will meet at least through the end of the week. Until then, we want to keep you informed of the latest news and share some last-minute opportunities to help priority legislation get across the finish line.


The Bangor Daily News (here), Portland Press Herald (here), and Kennebec Journal (here) have each recently published editorials on the importance and opportunity of pursuing offshore wind development in the Gulf of Maine. The time to act on this critical renewable energy resource is now, and one pending bill, LD 1895, would ensure that offshore wind is done right by ensuring it benefits all Maine people and avoids, minimizes, and mitigates impacts to Gulf wildlife, habitat, and fisheries. The bill was enacted in both the House and the Senate on the evening of June 22, and will now move to the Governor’s desk.


Maine Audubon has long been a strong supporter of the Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) program, which has been used to fund the protection of more than 600,000 acres across the state. Two bills this session would help strengthen LMF: LD 1969 would put LMF money into a trust fund to generate interest and protect those dollars from being used for other purposes. Another bill, LD 1285, would provide $10 million to LMF in the 2023-24 and 2024-25 fiscal years. 

Both of these bills have received the votes they need in the Legislature and are awaiting a final action by legislators in charge of funding. We are optimistic about their chances and will keep you posted.


Maine Audubon is a strong supporter of renewable energy development, though we recognize that all development can displace wildlife habitat and negatively impact Maine’s natural resources, including agricultural resources, if not thoughtfully sited. LD 1881 would create a compensation program for new renewable energy development, including terrestrial solar and wind development and high impact electric transmission lines, for projects that impact high value agricultural lands and natural resources. The program would be set up to create flexibility desired by the regulated community and allow for the aggregation of funds across permits, which could result in better conservation measures overall. This bill is awaiting action by the Legislature and we’re actively working to ensure its support.  


The bill to recognize the inherent sovereignty of the Wabanaki Nations, LD 2007, has officially been carried over—meaning the Legislature will pick the bill back up for the next session, which starts in January, 2024.

Until then, we are working to pass another Wabanaki Alliance priority bill, which is being voted on today: LD 2004, An Act to Restore Access to Federal Laws Beneficial to the Wabanaki Nations. This bill would change a provision in the 1980 Settlement Act that would begin the process of placing the Wabanaki Nations on similar footing as other federally-recognized tribes. Currently, whenever Congress passes legislation that impacts federally-recognized tribes, the Wabanaki Nations must be explicitly included in the bill’s text in order for them to receive benefits. This burden is unique to the Wabanaki Nations. Our Legislature has an opportunity to begin the essential work of addressing items that will help restore inherent self-determination to the Wabanaki Nations. You can take action RIGHT NOW by calling your legislators before they vote today. Click here to learn more!


Good news: Mainers across the state have a right to bring nature home. LD 649, sponsored by Senator Mattie Daughtry,  supports the rights of homeowners to increase biodiversity in their backyards by ditching mowed lawns for wildlife-friendly native plantings. Maine Audubon has worked for years to encourage local biodiversity restoration as part of our “Bringing Nature Home” program. Planting native wildflowers, shrubs, and trees supports wildlife and provides beneficial ecological services that other plants simply do not. The bill passed through both chambers of the Legislature, and is expected to be signed by Governor Mills soon. Celebrate this victory by planting native plants in your own backyard!


Fifth grade students from Old Orchard Beach led the effort to establish a new state butterfly in Maine. Working with Representative Lori Gramlich and supported by state wildlife agencies and groups like Maine Audubon, the students successfully passed a bill to establish the Pink-edged Sulphur as Maine’s official state butterfly. Maine Audubon naturalists took the students out to Kennebunk Plains Preserve earlier this month to celebrate and to search for the butterfly and its caterpillars. Watch video coverage of that visit here.


Harmful invasive plants can be transported by boaters moving their vessels between lakes. To help stop the spread, Maine Audubon supported LD 92, which strengthens existing law by requiring that boaters drain water from their watercraft before launching them into a new body of water and after they are removed. Governor Mills signed the bill into law on June 16, adding an important new layer of protection for water bodies across Maine.


Wake boats are a relatively new sight on Maine’s lakes, and their impacts are raising concerns among those interested in protecting loons, as well as shoreland residents. These boats are designed to produce extra-large waves to facilitate surfing and waterskiing, but the waves can wash away nests and speed erosion when they hit shore. More information about the impacts is needed. LD 379 directs the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to study the issue. The bill passed and was signed by Governor Mills, and Maine Audubon looks forward to helping support the process of understanding and limiting the impacts of wake boats.

We are grateful for your support of Maine Audubon, including our work to enact strong environmental policy. You can count on us to keep you informed and share opportunities to continue engaging with you legislators as we move toward the end of the first session of the 131st Maine Legislature!