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Environment Maine: Crunch time for Maine's North Woods
Environment Maine: Crunch time for Maine's North Woods
You wouldn't believe how quickly some legislators could rush to judgment on something so profound as the fate of Maine’s North Woods.

But last Thursday, at 3:05 p.m., after the deadline for state government to close due to the snow storm and as security guards were ushering the last few people left out of the State House, a legislative committee voted to rubber-stamp Gov. Paul LePage’s bill to throw open the North Woods to development. Just like that, they sent it to the House and Senate floor.

The vote happened only after a brave Republican on the committee — who had refused to go along with the bill despite weeks of badgering by the governor’s staff — was forced to meet with Gov. LePage…and finally gave in to the pressure. The committee then voted along party lines to approve the bill with just modest amendments.

So it’s now crunch time on the bill. We've counted and recounted the votes, and we still can stop it if there's enough of a public outcry. Some legislators need bucking up so they'll fight for us, and others who want to do the right thing but are under tremendous pressure from the governor and Republican leadership need to know you're behind them.

Call your House representative TODAY at home, which is one of the most effective ways to weigh in with your state representatives. It's fast, easy, and can really have a big impact. Click here for the number and suggestions on what to say.

The bill, LD 1798, will open the process to corruption by allowing county commissioners to appoint themselves, developers, or landowners with conflicts of interest to the board that manages development in the North Woods. Instead of a Commission made up of experts in sustainable growth and planning, we'll get stuck with an old boy's network with a direct financial incentive to turn over the North Woods to sprawling developers.

Worse yet, counties will be allowed to drop out of LURC's protections altogether, making up their own developer-friendly rules.

Will you make a quick call to protect the North Woods now and for future generations?

The North Woods are home to some of the most beautiful and treasured places in Maine — from Moosehead Lake to Baxter State Park. But once they’re gone, they’re gone forever. If we don’t stand up for their protection, who will?

Thank you!

Alexandra Fields
Preservation Associate
Environment Maine

Posted on Monday, March 19, 2012 (Archive on Wednesday, April 18, 2012)
Posted by Jym St. Pierre   Contributed by Jym St. Pierre

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