Archives for legislation

RadioActive 4/6/17

Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

Program Topic: President Trump’s Executive Order on Climate and Energy and Environmentalist Split on Metallic Mining in Maine

1) Today, we look at a split between grassroots environmentalists and non-profit environmental groups over legislation that could open Maine to devastating metallic mining ground water pollution.
2). Seven bills are currently before the Maine legislature’s Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources. LD 160 would ban mining outright. LD 253 would repeal a 2012 rule change which negated more protective standards that had been put in place in 1991. Today we look at LD 820, which a number of non-profits have supported, while others in the environmental community reveal would allow substantial and irreversible onsite groundwater pollution by mining companies. The bill sponsor now seeks amendments to the bill for further protection, but it is now in the hands of the Committeee.
3) We also look at President Trump’s sweeping executive order on climate and energy, with Janet Redman, the US policy director from Oil Change International.

Janet Redman, US policy director for Oil Change International and Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies.
Lew Kingsbury, activist with Alliance for a Common Good and freelance journalist for The Cryer Find his article “ Twice Defeated Metallic Mining Rules Faces Third Vote in Legislature”“ in the April edition.

This program was produced in partnership with the Sunlight Media Collective.

RadioActive 7/23/15

Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco
Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

Program Topic: Environmental Priorities Coalition on Past Legislative Session

Key Discussion Points:
1) The Environmental Priorities Coalition, representing 31 Maine environmental and public health organizations, is commending last session’s legislature for conservation and energy efficiency efforts, despite Governor LePage’s anti-environmental stance.

2) Action included rejecting a bill that would have opened the state to metallic mining (LD 750), a bill re-instituting funding for home energy efficiency subsidies (LD 1215), bills increasing lake protection (LD 568 and LD 713), support for additions to endangered and threatened species listings (LD 807), a bill blocking the governor’s attempt to decrease the number of forest rangers and the merger of the Bureau of parks and Lands with the Maine Forest Service (LD 1019) and a bill to create a process for the Maine Public Utilities Commission and stakeholders to engage in discussions and propose policy on solar power (LD 1263).

3) Maine is the only state in New England without a solar policy or subsidies for solar.

Beth Ahern, Maine Conservation Alliance; Environmental Priorities Coalition

RadioActive 5/7/15

Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

Program Topic: Maine Blocks Coverage of Tribes Under Violence Against Women Act (VOWA)

Key Discussion Points:

a) When Congress reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act (VOWA) in 2013, tribes across country were granted the ability to prosecute non-tribal members who have perpetrated domestic or dating violence against tribal members. Though this is a federal law, Maine has yet again used the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act to refuse to recognize the participation of the Wabanaki tribes within the state.

b) Today, Eric Mehnert, Chief Judge of the Penobscot Nation Court argues the tribes meet all legal requirements to prosecute under VOWA. He also speaks on the process and goals in the Penobscot Nation’s Tribal Court.

c) On Tuesday, May 12th, at 1pm in Room 436, the legislature’s judiciary committee will hold a public hearing on LD 268, a bill that would recognize the Penobscot and Passamquoddy Tribes ability to prosecute under the Violence Against Women Act.

(An Act regarding the Penobscot Nation’s and Passamaquoddy Tribe’s Authority to Exercise Jurisdiction under the Federal Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 and the Federal Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 – Sponsored by Wayne Mitchell/Penobscot representative).

Also being heard by committee on May 12th: LD1094: An Act to Improve Tribal-State Relations (Rep. Matt Dana/Passamaquoddy)

LD893: Resolution, proposing an amendment to article X of the Constitution of Maine Regarding the Publication of Maine Indian Treaty Obligations (Rep. Henry Bear/ Maliseet)

LD267: An Act to Implement the Recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (Rep. Wayne Mitchell/ Penobscot).

Guest: Eric Mehnert, Chief Judge, Penobscot Nation Court

RadioActive 2/26/15

Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

Program Topic: The legislature’s public hearing on a bill that would open Maine to metallic mining

Key Discussion Points:

a) Today we hear some of the public testimony and reactions to the legislature’s hearing yesterday on LD 146, a bill that would open Maine to metallic mining. Testimony was almost entirely in opposition to the bill.

b) LD 146 contains Department of Environmental Protection(DEP) rules that were rejected by the 125th Legislature.Opponents say the rules are not protective ground and surface water or tax payers, who could end up paying for extensive cleanup or disaster costs. The metallic mining industry’s historic and current operations around the world are synonymous with water pollution that lasts for decades. The last mining site in Maine, the Callhan mine in Brooksville, continues to pollute 40 years after closure, with tax payers footing the bill.

c) Another point of contention with this bill is the legality of the process in re-introducing the DEP rules. The Maine Attorney General’s office confirms that under Maine’s Administrative Procedure Act (MAPA) these rules should go before a DEP public hearing prior to going before the legislature. The AG office has said the legislature can only preempt the act with a vote by the full legislature.

Alice Bolstridge, Presque Isle
Shelley Mountain, Portage Lake
Rep. Janice Cooper (D- Yarmouth), former member of Joint Committee on Natural Resources and Environment
Browne Carson, former director of Natural Resources Council of Maine
Current members of Joint Committee on Natural Resources and Environment: Chair, Sen.Tom Saviello (R-Franklin), Rep. Bob Duechene (D-Hudson), Rep. Denise Harlow (D-Portland), Rep John Martin (D-Eagle Lake)
Anthony Hourihan, Aroostook Resources, JD Irving subsidiary
Jim Mitchell, lobbyist for Aroostook Resources, JD Irving subsidiary
Nick Bennett, staff scientist, Natural Resources Council of Maine

RadioActive 2/19/15

Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

Program Topic: EPA Decision: Maine Water Quality Standards are Not Protective of Tribes; The Environmental Impacts of Metallic Mining as Maine looks to Open the State for Irving Project

Key Discussion Points:

a) On February 2nd, the US EPA issued a decision that the state of Maine’s water quality standards are not stringent enough in tribal waters. Maine has been directed to strengthen these standards in compliance with protection of tribal sustenance fishing rights under the federal Clean Water Act.

b) We speak with Penobscot Nation Chief Kirk Francis on the importance of this decision to the tribe. And we look at the State of Maine’s inflamatory public relations offensive, primarily through Pierce Atwood attorney Matt Manahan, to re-frame the issue as a tribal power grab that will cost dischargers all along the Penobscot River millions of dollars. We also look at the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act, and a landmark case currently in the courts, Penobscot Nation v Mills, in which the Penobscot Nation is suing the Maine Attorney General’s office for it’s 2012 attempt to disassociate the water flowing through the Penobscot Nation from it’s tribal territory.

c) We also hear part of a presentation on the environmental destruction caused by metallic mining, given by Nick Bennett, staff scientist for the Natural Resources Council of Maine. Maine lawmakers are attempting to rush through previously rejected DEP rules that would open Maine to metallic mining. LD 146, is being hopscotched over the requirement under Maine’s Administrative Procedures Act (MAPA) that proposed rule changes must have a public hearing before the DEP, prior to proceeding to the legislature. Proponents of the rule changes say, the MAPA requirements can be worked around. The Joint Committee on Environment and Natural Resources is holding it’s public hearing on LD 146 on February 25th, at 9am at the Augusta State House.

Chief Kirk Francis, Penobscot Nation,
Nick Bennett, staff scientist, Natural Resources Council of Maine

RadioActive 2/12/15

Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco

Issue: Environmental and Social Justice

Program Topic: Changes to Maine’s Mining Regulations Pushed

Key Discussion Points:
a) Today we talk with Rep. Ralph Chapman about fast moving and legally controversial changes to the state’s mining regulations and the power of industry in state government.

b) Mining rule changes, crafted by JD Irving to expedite mining at Bald Mountain in Aroostook County, were rejected by the 126th legislature on the grounds that it did not protect the environment or the public from inevitably costly clean up. These same rules, however, have been re-introduced this session, as LD 146, hopscotching over the requirement under the Maine’s Administrative Procedures Act (MAPA) that Department of Environmental Protection’s proposed rule changes must go before a public hearing before proceeding to the legislature. The Joint Standing Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, however, has scheduled a public hearing for Feb 25th at 9am. It is expected proponents will try to push the bill through as quickly as possible and onto the Governor’s desk for signing.

c) We also look towards the annual Changing Maine Gathering this weekend in Augusta. This years theme : ” We DO Have the Power: Local Organizing Against Corporate/Industrial Projects”

Rep. Ralph Chapman, District 133 (Blue Hill, Brooksville, Brooklin, Sedgwick, Castine, Surry)
Sass Linneken, Resources Organizing for Social Change (ROSC), outreach coordinator

Common Ground Radio 5/6/11

Producers/Hosts: Cheryl Wixson, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association

Topic: Public Policy

How does the public (consumer) participate in the process? What can citizens do to protect themselves from toxics? What is the civics process of bills in the legislature?

Andy O’Brien, State Representative, District 44; Jim Gerritson, Wood Prairie Farm, Bridgewater; Heather Spaulding, Associate Director, MOFGA

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