First of all, a huge thank you to all who responded to the request for testimony for LD 164. You impressed the committee with almost 100 pieces of testimony, both written and spoken, and you made a difference! As a result, we have good news to share:
The committee unanimously supported the bill for $2.5 million over two years.
For a committee with a wide range of fiscal perspectives, this is a huge win. And the smaller amount is much more likely to actually be funded in the end after the budget is hammered out. It's great to know committee members value clean lakes, and that has already set a great tone for the rest of the session. Stay tuned for more details on how this bill makes it through the budget process. A huge thanks to Rep. Bill Bridgeo of Augusta for sponsoring this important bill!
But now it’s time to turn to another committee and another bill.
Committee: Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
Public Hearing: Monday, February 13, at 1:00
Location: Room 206 of the Cross Office Building in Augusta
We need your support!
You might remember we have all advocated for this bill before. In 2021, LD 184 had tremendous public support, with over 50 people submitting written testimony in support (Click here, then click on "Status in Committee" on the left side menu and "Public Hearing Testimony"). Despite that extraordinary level of support, the bill was defeated in the committee in large part due to agency concerns about enforcement and a desire for voluntary measures.
We have argued, and will continue to argue, that enforcing the removal of drain plugs before transporting boats is on par with enforcing the current ban on traveling with plants on a boat trailer. Both can be enforced if the trailered boat is stopped, and both can be addressed with friendly education and outreach about the problems during a Courtesy Boat Inspection (CBI). The CBI program, which hires staff to inspect boats and trailers at boat launches across the state, has an excellent track record of informing boaters about (and not enforcing) invasive plant laws. Checking ballast plugs at the time of inspections is a great way to increase awareness about a new rule, at the same time reducing the risk of invasive species spread.
We need even more letters of support this time around.
We need the committee to understand the problem, and recognize that reducing avenues for invasive spread, especially by easy and straightforward tools like “clean, drain, and dry”, are critical for the future of Maine’s healthy lakes.
I am asking you to join me in speaking up for Maine’s lakes today.
To read a fact sheet for LD 92 developed by a collaboration of watershed organizations, click here.
To keep up to date on bill news, including a copy of Maine Lakes written testimony, visit our Advocacy page here. Click on the light blue box for LD 92.
Please consider speaking at the public hearing on Monday, Feb. 13th at 1 p.m. in Room 206 of the Cross Office Building at the capitol in Augusta.
Legislators and committees are very friendly and welcoming, and a few words from you will go a long way to moving this bill forward. A sample outline is below if you need some assistance crafting a letter. Consider adding a line or two about your experience with invasives and your concerns for what will happen if invasive species spread. For more letter writing tips, click here.