A Bond Issue for Lakes! – June Vote
We need your help to authorize this bond. Maine Lawmakers decide the fate of nearly two thousand bills each session, any one of which could impact your lake. This year the Maine Lakes Society (MLS) have introduced LD 178, An Act to Authorize a General Fund Bond to Provide Jobs, Improve Road Infrastructure and Protect Water Resources. The bill would provide $1,000,000 a year for 5 years to eliminate sources of lake pollution, effectively doubling the money the State has to spend each year repairing culverts, ditches and gravel roads in lake watersheds. Our bill, which will have a direct impact on 172 nonpoint source high priority lakes, will be voted on in June.
Doubling the Money for Nonpoint Source Prevention LD 178 is crucial because Maine lakes are not truly holding their own today. Though water quality damage develops slowly and is insidiously hard to see before problems are hard to treat and costly, this summary from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (MEDEP) web site defines the issue, “Repeated nuisance algal blooms have been recorded on more than 53 Maine lakes and another 493 are considered at significant risk.” Clearly more must be done to stop water quality declines in developing watersheds. Doubling the money for pollution abatement seemed the best strategy to us.
Clean Water Act Axed Now, recent federal actions make passing LD 178 even more important — if not imperative. You’ve heard about budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but you may not realize how directly and severely this termination will affect Maine’s gllreat ponds. Since 1970 when Senator Muskie successfully launched the Clean Water Act, the EPA has passed funds on to the states to improve and stabilize inland waters under Section 319 of that Act. Currently, the amount available for Maine projects is approximately $1,000,000 annually, with grants requiring a local 40% match. However, if the EPA funding cuts succeed, these 319 funds and the MEDEP staff that administer it will disappear. So now, the measure we introduced to expand a vital program may turn out to be its saving grace. But we must authorize the bond in the legislature and engage enough Maine citizens to vote for it in September.
What You Can Do The first thing is to be informed. Click on the option “Sign up for Updates Here!” to the right, and submit your contact information. You will then receive timely notices of important legislation. Watch for Legislative Alerts about LD 178 and resolve to write to your legislators or better yet show up for the hearing.
Finally, the roads bond isn’t the only bill we care about or have been advocating for or against. That information is on the web site too.