Right to clean, wholesome environment pitched to Maine lawmakers

Maine lawmakers are listening to testimony concerning a constitutional amendment that would codify the proper to a clear and healthful environment.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Rep. Maggie O’Neil, D-Saco, is proposing a bill that would protect Mainers suitable to a clean up environment. She argued that if Maine had this constitutional amendment, citizens could file lawsuits to cease pollution, instead of ready for the legislature to move rules to clear it up.

“Our federal government employed to allow spreading sludge that had PFAS and that contaminated soil and there was a issue in time that we understood it was toxic and the legislature was getting time to act,” O’Neil explained.

Customers of the Atmosphere and All-natural Resources Committee experienced a number of queries for speakers in the course of the listening to, like Anthony Moffa, who is an environmental legislation professor at the University of Maine School of Legislation. He stated other states have taken up this amendment and not had any issues.

“Substantially of these discussions around these amendments tends to descend into, ‘Well, can I sue my neighbor centered on this modification?’ And the way this existing edition is structured, I examine it to be as towards the government, not always as Mainers against Mainers,” Moffa said.

Simply because this proposal is a constitutional modification, it wants a considerable amount of money of help. As it stands now, it has a extended way to go.

Even if it survives a committee vote, then it demands two-thirds guidance in both of those chambers of the legislature. Then, Maine voters would nonetheless get the final say.

Testimony at the general public hearing for the proposed bill lasted about a few hrs of testimony Wednesday, together with presentations from younger voters.

“We will not have anything at all with out a thoroughly clean surroundings. We would not be in a position to have these general public hearings. We don’t have politics. We never have an overall economy,” Anna Lyons, 20, stated.

But not all people is confident the invoice is a good notion. The Maine Section of Environmental Security testified neither for nor against this bill.

“In 2021 a comparable resolution with significantly much more depth was released as LD 489 and opposed by the office,” the division mentioned in its testimony.

The DEP claimed it continues to be neutral on this invoice for the reason that as it really is published it would not modify any point out statute.

Other folks who testified Wednesday explained this amendment is truly not needed in Maine.

“We aid our surroundings. We want to secure our surroundings. The regulatory businesses and the construction that we presently have in place we sense is ample,” Ben Lucas from the Maine Condition Chamber of Commerce claimed.

He additional the latest zoning and other polices are by now executing the job to preserve Maine clean and wholesome.

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