Issue: Environmental and Social Justice
Host: Meredith DeFrancesco and Lawrence Reichard
Engineer: Meredith DeFrancesco
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.
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