The Judiciary Committee heard the report from the Committee to Review Issues Dealing with Regulatory Takings this week. The Takings Committee reported both a majority and a minority report. The majority report recommends that the Legislature adopt ‘Takings’ legislation. The minority strongly recommends against this path and instead recommends strengthening and promoting the existing land use mediation program. The Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to develop a bill incorporating the majority report.
‘Takings’ legislation undermines nearly every environmental and public health protection that exists in law. If the Legislature adopts the majority report, taxpayers and state agencies would be left with two unworkable and unethical choices: pay landowners to follow the law or waive the protective regulation. By creating a legal and financial morass for states, ‘takings’ bills are simply a back-door means of rolling back core protections to our water, land, and wildlife. The result is habitat loss, diminished water quality, a Pandora’s Box of lawsuits, and tremendous costs to taxpayers. We expect the bill to be printed soon as Cathy Connors from Pierce Atwood, a member of the Takings Committee, submitted a proposed draft bill.
The State and Local Government Committee met again to discuss LD 769, Rep. Brad Moulton’s bill that addresses the elimination of the State Planning Office. His bill is intended to put pressure on the administration and the Legislature to keep land use planning in tact. He agreed to let the Committee kill his bill in return for a commitment from the administration to meet with him and other interested parties to discuss the future of land use planning. It’s unclear how this conversation will impact the actions of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee that is rumored to be developing a bill addressing the elimination of the State Planning Office.
The Inland Wading Bird and Waterfowl Habitat bill, LD 1797, was printed this week. The Land Use Regulatory Reform bill, LD 1798, was also printed. We expect hearings to be scheduled soon.
The Environmental Priorities Coalition also held a press conference yesterday to announce its priorities. Maine Audubon is a member of the Coalition. Please follow this link to learn more about this year’s priorities: http://maineepc.org/