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Maine Legislature Graded on Environmental Issues

The Natural Resource Council of Maine has released their end-of-session report card on the Maine Legislature's work on environmental issues.

Another Look Back

The Natural Resources Council of Maine looks back on the environmental work done in the first session of the 124th legislature:

A Green St. Patrick's Day in Augusta

The Natural Resources Council of Maine will be taking a trip to the legislature on March 17, St. Patrick's Day, in order to lobby on variety of environmental issues.

Their agenda this year includes legislation to protect rivers and land, combat climate change, protect people from exposure to toxic chemicals and make improving home and business energy efficiency easier and cheaper.

For more info, see the NCRM blog, or check out their list of upcoming legislation and hearings.

LURC Lessons

Brownie Carson, the executive director of the Natural Resources Council of Maine, had an interesting op-ed in the Bangor Daily News on Friday about the power and extent of the public's ability to influence land use decisions.

Because people spoke out, significant improvements were achieved. The number of shorefront lots was cut in half; development on remote ponds and some high-priority wildlife areas was dropped; special places like Prong Pond, the western shore of Brassua Lake and the northwest shore of Moosehead Lake were spared; many loopholes in Plum Creek’s proposed conservation easement were removed; and the amount of donated conservation was increased.

But what never changed were the overall scale of the project (975 house lots and 1,050 resort units) and Plum Creek’s demand for a resort at Lily Bay. Although letters to LURC in opposition to Lily Bay development outnumbered letters in support by 1,517 to 7, the commission acceded to Plum Creek’s threat, delivered in September as the final words of their lead attorney: "Without Lily Bay, there is no plan."

LURC Deliberates on Plum Creek Today

Maine's Land Use Regulatory Committee will be meeting today and tomorrow to discuss Plum Creek's rezoning application. (Listen to the deliberations live here)

The Natural Resources Council of Maine and Maine Audubon held a press conference this morning to oppose the draft recommendations proposed by LURC staff, which would allow for a housing development on Lily Bay. According to a statement on the group's website, public comment on the issue has been very one-sided, with 1,516 comments submitted in opposition to the plan during the latest round of consultations, and only seven comments supporting the development.