Monday June 17th, state director Carissa Maurin gave the following testimony on behalf of Enviornment Maine in support of the LD 911: A Bond to Promote Land Conservation, Working Waterfronts, Water Access and Outdoor Recreation, LD 1119: A Bond to Support Investments in Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, LD 1836: An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue for Infrastructure, Economic Development, Workforce Development and Energy and Environment Investment. Her testimony is as following:
“Good afternoon Senator Breen, Representative Gattine, and distinguished members of the Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs. Thank you for allowing me to present this testimony. My name is Carissa Maurin and I am the State Director at Environment Maine. I am here speaking to you today in support of LD 911, LD 1119, and LD 1836.
LD 911: A Bond to Promote Land Conservation, Working Waterfronts, Water Access and Outdoor Recreation, will provide funding that will protect access to mountains, rivers, lakes and forests. The Land for Maine’s Future program has a history of broad support and an outstanding record of success in protecting Maine’s natural legacy. LMF works to conserve land in each of Maine’s 16 counties and securing public access to mountain summits, rivers, lakes, and coastal shorelines. This includes more than 315,000 acres of working forestland, ensuring sustainable forest management and public access for hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation; more than 9,700 acres of productive farmland; and two dozen working waterfront sites from York to Lubec, enhancing Maine’s commercial fisheries and helping over 1,600 Maine fishing families and nearly 1,000 fishing vessels maintain key access points. Maine State Parks promote health, nature appreciation, and boost our economy. Maine has 48 State Parks and Historic Sites that provide scenic hiking trails, sandy beaches, family camping, and preservation and interpretation of Maine history. Each year, over 2 million people enjoy Maine’s natural heritage at our State Parks generating $100 million annually for Maine’s economy however, State Parks have a $50 million backlog of basic infrastructure maintenance. With the last Land for Maine’s Future bond approved by Maine voters in 2012, the fate of many community supported projects hang in the balance.
LD 1119: A Bond to Support Investments in Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in Municipalities and Schools is a bond which will provide Maine towns and cities with matching grants to invest in clean energy and energy efficiency projects. Municipal officials and residents want practical solutions that will lower energy costs, reduce climate change pollution, and support local clean energy businesses. Cities and towns across Maine have begun to invest in clean energy solutions like solar power, energy efficiency upgrades and efficient heating systems, but they have just scratched the surface of what is possible. Many municipalities struggle to find or allocate money to make the upfront investments in clean energy solutions (despite longer-term savings). This bill will let voters decide on a $10 million bond to help cities and towns. If approved by voters, the money would be used to provide matching grants to municipalities. Funds could be used for projects in areas not already covered by Efficiency Maine, such as solar projects and commercial-scale modern wood heating. The grants would be dispersed to maximize geographic representation and target towns and cities that are making commitments to support public and private-sector investment in clean energy. LD 1119 will help towns and cities across Maine invest in local, clean energy solutions, lower municipal energy costs over the long term, leading to reduced property taxes for Maine people and businesses, as well as keep our energy dollars flowing in Maine’s economy.
LD 1836: An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue for Infrastructure, Economic Development, Workforce Development and Energy and Environment Investment is a comprehensive bond package that will tackle Maine’s most pressing issues: Economic Development, Workforce Development, Environmental Protection & Clean Energy Development, and Rebuilding Transportation Infrastructure. The proposal invests in expanding access to broadband across the state, in supporting research and development to spur innovation and diversify the economy, and in bolstering fishing and farming infrastructure to further support these industries. The proposal also invests in expanding education and training in the trades, to bolster career and technical education, and to increase access to quality child care services, the lack of which holds many people back from entering the workforce. LD 1836 invests in replenishing the Land for Maine’s Future program, improving wastewater treatment, and ushering in renewable energy projects at the municipal level. It also invests in our roads, bridges, ports, rail, and air transportation, as well as the restoration of a commercial fishing wharf to support research in the Gulf of Maine and marine-based jobs. As the Governor said when she unveiled this bond package, “This investment strategy will tackle our challenges head on, continuing to diversify our economy and make Maine the best place in the nation to live, work, and raise a family.”"