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WERU 89.9 FM Blue Hill, Maine Local News and Public Affairs Archives

Audio archives of spoken word broadcasts from Community Radio WERU 89.9 FM Blue Hill (weru.org)

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  • Issue: Environmental and Social Justice
    Host: Meredith DeFrancesco and Lawrence Reichard
    Engineer: Meredith DeFrancesco
    Broadcast Time:4-4:30PM

    Program Topic: United States Postal Service Cuts Proposed, and Bill in Maine Legislature Aims for Major Change to LURC, the Land Use Regulatory Commission

    Key Discussion Points:

    a) Though not required of any other government agency, in 2006, Congress mandated that the US Postal Service pre-fund their future retiree health benefits. Meeting this mandate accounts for 84% of the postal service’s current debt, which a bill co-sponsored by Senator Collins and others asserts must lead to the closure of hundreds of post offices and processing centers through out the country, including 30 Maine post offices and the Hampden processing center.

    b) LD 1798, “An Act to Reform Land Use Planning in the Unorganized Territory”, proposes to restructure and reassign the current make up and tasks of the Land Use Regulatory Commission (LURC). This includes : assigning the permitting of large scale projects to the Department of Environmental Protection, eliminating the requirement that the developer of a project demonstrate that there is a “need” for it.

    c. LD 1798 would also change LURC’s name to the Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC) and would be made up of nine members, six from the counties with the largest amount of Unorganized Territories. Count Commissioners could appoint themselves to the LUPC. The most impacting on the current mission of LURC, the bill would allow counties to opt out of the LUPC, as the Natural Resources Council of Maine says, could effectively dismantle the statewide land use system.

    Guests:
    A ) Jon Curtis, recently retired letter carrier
    B) Cathy Johnson, Maine Woods Project Director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine

    Call In Program: No

    No Comments
  • Broadcast Time: 4pm

    Program Topic: Segment 1: Legal System’s Response to Domestic Violence in Maine, Segment 2: The LURC Reform Committee’s Recommendations

    Key Discussion Points (list at least 3):
    a) A follow up on last week’s discussion of how the bail system (and other parts of the pre-trial legal system) in Maine impacts domestic violence
    b) How does the system’s response affect the safety of the victims and the wider community?
    c) What recommendations will the Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC) Reform Committee be making regarding the future of that agency?

    Guests by name and affiliation:
    A) Francine Garland Stark, Executive Director, Hope and Justice Project
    B) Cathy Johnson, NorthWoods Project Director and Senior Staff Attorney for the Natural Resources Council of Maine

    Call In Program: No
    Political Broadcast: No

    Host: Amy Browne
    Engineer: Amy Browne

    No Comments
  • Broadcast Time: 4pm

    Program Topics: LURC Reform Commission’s final meeting & Occupy Bangor update

    Key Discussion Points:
    What points has the LURC Reform commission agreed upon?
    What points is the commission still hashing out?
    Where does “Occupy Bangor” go from here, after being told to leave the library land and the adjacent park?

    Guests by name and affiliation: Recorded audio of LURC Reform Commission members and audience member(s) at the meeting; an interview w/ Lawrence Reichard of Occupy Bangor

    Call In Program: no

    Host: Amy Browne
    Contributing Producer: Meredith DeFrancesco
    Engineer: Amy Browne

    No Comments
  • Producer/Host: Amy Browne

    Continuing our coverage of yesterday’s work session on LD 1534, “An Act To Reform the Land Use and Planning Authority in the Unorganized Territories” which eliminates the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission, effective July 15, 2012. This bill as it is currently worded also establishes a “Land Use Planning in the Unorganized Territory Transition Advisory Board” to advise the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry on matters relating to the transfer of authority over land use planning in the unorganized territory to the counties in which the land is located. The board is required to render its advice to the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry by December 2, 2011. The board is dissolved July 15, 2012. At that point the counties would presumably take over the responsibilities now handled by LURC, though many at the public hearing expressed serious concerns about their ability to do so.
    The Maine Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC or the Commission) was created by the Maine Legislature in 1971 to serve as the planning and zoning authority for the state’s townships, plantations and unorganized areas. LURC’s jurisdiction stretches over half the state, encompassing more than 10.4 million acres and the largest contiguous undeveloped area in the Northeast.

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  • Producer/Host: Amy Browne

    In Augusta this afternoon the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee held a work session on a bill calling for the elimination of Maine’s Land Use Regulation Commission
    As we reported last week, when we listened in on the public hearing on the bill, LD 1534, “An Act To Reform the Land Use and Planning Authority in the Unorganized Territories” eliminates the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission, effective July 15, 2012. This bill as it is currently worded also establishes a “Land Use Planning in the Unorganized Territory Transition Advisory Board” to advise the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry on matters relating to the transfer of authority over land use planning in the unorganized territory to the counties in which the land is located. The board is required to render its advice to the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry by December 2, 2011. The board is dissolved July 15, 2012. At that point the counties would presumably take over the responsibilities now handled by LURC, though many at the public hearing expressed serious concerns about their ability to do so.
    The Maine Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC or the Commission) was created by the Maine Legislature in 1971 to serve as the planning and zoning authority for the state’s townships, plantations and unorganized areas. LURC’s jurisdiction stretches over half the state, encompassing more than 10.4 million acres and the largest contiguous undeveloped area in the Northeast.
    Today we’re going to listen in on this afternoon’s work session on the bill, which got quite confusing as there were 2 different versions circulating through the committee, and the committee members themselves were unsure which they were debating:

    No Comments
  • Producer/Host: Amy Browne

    Today we continue our coverage of yesterday’s public hearing, before the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry on 2 pieces of pending legislation.
    LD 819, pponsored by Representative Jeff McCabe, is an Emergency Resolve that would make changes to the way Maine’s Land Use Regulatory Committee– or LURC– operates. LD 1534, sponsored by Representative Jeffery Gifford, would abolish LURC completely, turning their planning and zoning authority for the state’s unorganized territories (you’ll hear them referred to here as “UT”s), over to the counties. 2 other pieces of proposed legislation concerning LURC were pulled from consideration by their sponsors yesterday.
    Yesterday on the WERU News Report we heard mostly from supporters of LD1534, the bill that would abolish LURC. Today we hear some other points of view:

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  • Producer/Host: Amy Browne

    The Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry is hearing testimony, as we go to air today, on bills that would revise — or even abolish– Maine’s Land Use Regulatory Commission, also known as LURC. LURC was created by the Maine Legislature in 1971 to serve as the planning and zoning authority for the state’s and unorganized territories– or, as you’ll hear them referred to today, UT’s

    LD 1534 An Act To Reform the Land Use and Planning Authority in the Unorganized Territories, Sponsored by Representative Jeffery Gifford, would abolish LURC, effective in 2012, transferring authority for land use planning over to the counties.
    and LD 819 Resolve, To Improve the Predictability of Land Use Regulation in the Unorganized Territories, (Emergency) Sponsored by Representative Jeff McCabe of Skowhegan which would require some changes in the way LURC operates.
    Today we’re going to hear testimony from those in FAVOR of the proposed legislation, in particular LD 1534, the bill that would abolish LURC. Tomorrow we’ll bring you testimony from opponents, which is still taking place today at air time:

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  • Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

    Today we discuss five pesticide bills before the Maine legislature’s Joint Standing Committee Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. Two bills being considered would essentially erase recently passed legislation. One would repeal the pesticide registry, which requires landowners to inform residents, within a certain distance, at the beginning of the season, that they can get on a list for aerial and air carrier pesticide spray notification. The second, would severely limit the distance within which landowners would be required to observe notification wishes, cutting it from a quarter mile to 100 feet.

    Another bill before the committee seeks to restrict the use of herbicides and pesticides on the grounds of schools and childcare facilities.

    This News Just In: The Maine Superior Court has just ruled to vacate the Land Use Regulatory Commission’s decision to grant Plum Creek’s development plan for the Moosehead Lake region. Attorney Phil Worden represented the Forest Ecology Network and RESTORE: The North Woods in this challenge to LURC’s decision. Chief Justice Humphrey called LURC’s action an “unauthorized, ad hoc procedure,” and concluded that the public was denied its legal rights to speak out on the final version of Plum Creek’s plan.

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