2012 EPC Priorities

2012 EPC Priorities

Maine’s Environmental Priorities Coalition (EPC) identified eight priorities for the 2012 legislative session. Unfortunately, almost all involved defending against proposals to weaken existing environmental protections. The end result included some important victories, some serious losses, and a handful of outcomes that were improved but not ideal.

Mining Regulations Weakened: Highest quality waters put in jeopardy

The Legislature passed a bill that weakens Maine’s open pit mining regulations, which could threaten our waterways. The bill was introduced during the final weeks of the session and the rushed process did not allow for full public debate or robust, scientific input. While the bill was improved from its original version by the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, the outcome still weakens groundwater standards and reduces the state’s protection against abandoned mining sites. The law now will go through administrative rulemaking. Once those rules are finalized in 2014 they must go back to the Legislature for approval.

Assault on Efficiency Maine Trust Blocked: Cost-saving efficiency initiatives will continue

A second energy bill introduced by Governor LePage late in the session would have stripped Efficiency Maine Trust of much of its autonomy and required the Trust to fund an electric heat conversion program. If passed, the bill could have undermined successful cost-saving efficiency initiatives. The bill was neutralized with a unanimous committee amendment, which was accepted by the full Legislature. Efficiency Maine Trust remains independent, while pilot electric heat conversion programs will be run by the utilities after review and approval by the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

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