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
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.
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.
Producer/Host: Meredith DeFrancesco
Today we examine the court challenge to the Plum Creek Development plan.
We talk with Phil Worden. He is the attorney for Forest Ecology Network and RESTORE: The Maine Woods, who are fighting to repeal the Land Use Regulatory Commission’s approval of the massive development plan in the Moosehead Lake region, which would include 1000 house lots and 2 large resorts. The development required the rezoning of close to 16,000 acres. Included in the proposal is the setting aside of approximately 600,000 acres for so-called conservation, though commercial logging and gravel and water extraction would be allowed there.
Initially, the Land Use Regulatory Commission was not satisfied with Plum Creek’s plan, and made changes before they approved it. They did not, however, re-open the new plan to the public adjudicatory hearing, which allowed interested parties to cross examine and present their own arguments. This is one of the main points of the suit. On February 24th, the Maine Superior Court heard final arguments on the merits of the case.
Producers/Hosts: Meredith DeFrancesco and Meaghan LaSala
Topic: LURC’s Vote to Approve TranCanada’s Kibby Mtn. II Wind Project
Why did the Citizens Taskforce on Windpower oppose the project and stage a protest before the meeting: Why did LURC Commissioner Rebecca Kurtz vote against the project (as the one dissenting vote)? Why did the rest of the commission vote in favor?
Producers/Hosts: Meredith DeFrancesco and Amy Browne
Topics: Plum Creek, logging deeryard, mining, mudslide, banning public, LURC/CLUP, State Police refusal to release records on local activists
Guests: Hillary Lister, Lynne Williams, Emily Posner
Producers/Hosts: Amy Browne & Meredith DeFrancesco
Topic: Land Use Regulatory Commission (LURC) approval of Plum Creek development plan; Financial BailOut, Jack McKay, Rep. Mike Michaud
Producers/Hosts: Meredith DeFrancesco & Amy Browne
Topics: Maine state Land Use Regulatory Commission (LURC) endorses Plum Creek development plan
*Maine Civil Liberties Union opposes motion to dismiss telecom cases
*Maine Civil Liberties Union opposes federal legislation that could limit healthcare services for birth control, abortion,end of life care and HIV treatment
Today we cover two stories that illicit reflection on how democracy works in our country and in our state.
We talk with the Maine Civil Liberties Union about challenging the National Security Agency’s right to use the Verizon phone company to gather information from Maine residents, regardless of the new national amendment to the FISA law.
But first, we go to the largest development plan this state has seen. It’s timber giant and now developer Plum Creek’s plan to rezone nearly 16,000 acres in the Moosehead Lake region for 975 house lots and two large resorts. Yesterday Maine’s Land Use Regulatory Commission (LURC) endorsed that plan.
On Tuesday and Wednesday LURC heard closing comments from the many organizations, businesses and others who have been opposing or supporting the Plum Creek plan. But LURC already had it’s mind made up, or had been advised by it’s consultants what it should decide. Yesterday LURC endorsed Plum Creek’s development plan.
1.Wendy Weiger, coordinator of Moosehead Region Futures Committee www.mooseheadfutures.org
2. Zachary Heiden, Legal Director, Maine Civil Liberties Union