Active Advocacy and Policy Issues

Maine Lakes Society has an active advocacy program focused on policies and laws that keep Maine’s lakes clean and healthy. In the 129th Legislature, which will be in full session from January to June, 2019), we will be following bills that deal with septic tanks, shoreland zoning, invasive species, land conservation and river protection. Bookmark this page and check back often for updates, or sign up for our Legislative Alerts to receive periodic notices about advocacy opportunities.

Upcoming Advocacy Opportunities

LD 959: An Act to Increase Funding for the Maine Lakes Society “LakeSmart” Program and the Lake Stewards of Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program

Urgent Action Needed!

  • Public Hearing: March 14, 2019 1:00 pm in front of the Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee (Room 216 of Cross Office Building, 111 Sewall Street, Augusta)
  • This bill will sustainably fund Maine Lakes Society’s LakeSmart program with a $100K annual allocation.
  • Your voice is needed! Please attend the public hearing. If you live in a district with an ENR committee member (click here for a list), your voice is especially helpful at this stage.
  • For MLS talking points, click here.
  • Email Maggie Shannon (msshannon@mainelakessociety.org) with questions or if you plan to testify. She would love to hear from you!
  • THIS IS A CRITICAL BILL FOR MLS and your support will make a big difference to the committee! Thank you!

LD 235: An Act to Increase Funding to Contain and Manage the Spread of Invasive Aquatic Species

  • This bill increases the fee for the Lake and River Protection Sticker in order to more adequately fund the work of DEP, DIFW and lake associations in their efforts to monitor and control invasive species in Maine through the Courtesy Boat Inspection program and other supported volunteer efforts.
  • The hearing on 2/27 went well, with 10 speakers in support and none against. You can read testimony here.
  • The work session for this bill has not yet been scheduled.

LD 216: An Act To Protect Water Quality by Standardizing the Law Concerning Septic Inspection in the Shoreland Zone

  • This bill extends the requirement for septic inspections to all property transfers in the shoreland zone.
  • The public hearing on 2/7 went well, with 18 people speaking in favor and only one in opposition. You can read MLS and other testimony here.
  • The work session will be held on March 6 at 10:00 a.m. by the ENR Committee (Room 216 of Cross Office Building, 111 Sewall St., Augusta)

COMPLETED – Thank You for Your Support! Citizen’s Hearing, Portland, Feb. 7 – You are invited to join us on Thursday, Feb. 7, from 6 – 8 p.m. at the Portland Public Library, 5 Monument Square, for a citizens hearing on the proposed “Dirty Water Rule” that, if passed, could undermine the strong protections Maine lakes enjoy today. To learn more and to register for the event, click here. (This is helpful, but not mandatory. And please tell NRCM that Maine Lakes Society sent you.)

COMPLETED – Thank You for Your Support! Public Hearing, Augusta, Feb.  7:  Your voice is needed! Please consider testifying in SUPPORT of LD 216 and LD 319, two bills that will likely be combined as they do the same thing: extend the requirement for septic inspections to all property transfers in the shoreland zone. This proposal was first introduced in 2017, and despite enjoying broad bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, failed by only six votes to override the Governor’s unfortunate veto.

Maine Lakes Society believes this is a critical bill for many reasons. It will:

  • Protect water quality by identifying systems that are failing
  • Protect property values by helping maintain high water quality
  • Protect property owners from liability and unanticipated consequences from failed systems

Please join us and speak up at the hearing in front of the Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee in Room 216 of the Cross Building at 1 p.m. on Thursday February 7th. To view our testimony, click here.

Finally, here are some other resources to support efforts in endorsing these bills:

  • Links to 2017 testimony in support of this change here.
  • For tips on writing and delivering testimony, click here.
  • Can’t make it in person? Write a letter to your legislator! Letters from constituents of ENR Committee members are particularly helpful. See the list of legislators and districts further down on this page.
  • Don’t know your district? The Senate and House maps, also below, should help.

Additional Resources:

  • Find your State Senator here.
  • Find your State Representative here.
  • Map of Maine’s 35 Senate Districts here.
  • To zoom into specific districts, click here.
  • Map of Maine’s 151 House Districts here.
  • To zoom into specific districts, click here.

Credit to Maine Audubon (www.maineaudubon.org/advocacy) for sharing much of this information found on this page.