Maine Legislature

House Democratic Office

www.housedemocrats.maine.gov

 

 

Oct. 18, 2013

Contact: Ann Kim 287-1488, cell: 233-1838

 

REP. MCCABE: NATURAL RESOURCE STEWARDSHIP VITAL TO ECONOMY

Natural resources key to Maine’s brand, but LePage administration policies put them at risk

 

It’s the time of year when open-water fishing winds down, when we put away the canoes and kayaks and sneak in time to stack firewood. It’s when we head out on back roads like the Lower Enchanted or Capitol Road in search of partridge, when we scout deer hunting spots and when we tell tall tales of the fish caught – or nearly caught – on Maine’s pristine lakes, rivers and streams.

 

Good morning.  I’m Assistant House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe of Skowhegan. Thank you for tuning in.

 

I learned long ago that you’ll find a strong conservation sense in the heart of those who hunt and fish.

 

Many Maine people seek a balance between protecting the resource and seeing viable natural resource industries thrive. Many support land conservation to create access for activities like snowmobiling, hiking and boating.

 

So I find myself scratching my head and wondering why Governor Paul LePage is so disconnected from our outdoor heritage. At every junction, he has chosen a path that does not support conservation or the environment.

 

The beauty of Maine’s natural treasures is obvious to anyone who is lucky enough to live, work or recreate in our great state. These natural resources play a fundamental role in our heritage as Mainers, our well-being – and our economy.

 

But the policies of the LePage administration are putting our natural resources and our outdoor heritage at risk.

 

We’ve seen missed federal deadlines for dam licensing related to water quality. I also fear the effects this will have on water levels for boating and fishing

 

A new report shows that this administration is hurting lake protection efforts. Another one shows that the administration failed to make important documents about the water pollution risks of mining available to the public and their representatives.

 

Maine lakes generate an estimated $3.5 billion in annual economic activity. And 52,000  jobs depend on them.

 

Right now, the state Board of Environmental Protection is considering draft mining rules. They are not strong enough to protect Maine from water pollution. Mining can lead to “acid mine drainage” pollution. It is devastating to water quality and fish.

 

Mining is not taking place in Maine now. But if it does, it has to be under the highest possible standards. And we have to make sure that Maine taxpayers aren’t on the hook for clean-up costs. It’s happened before with the Callahan Mine in Brooksville.  It hasn’t operated since 1972, but we’re still paying for it.

 

These days, the focus is on Bald Mountain in Aroostook County. But there’s certainly potential for this to be an issue elsewhere in Maine.

 

Clean water and the wildlife are part of Maine’s great brand – one that is known throughout the world.

 

We need the LePage administration to understand how important this is.

 

Our natural resources deserve our steadfast stewardship so future generations will also be able to enjoy and benefit from them.

 

Thank you for listening. I’m Assistant Majority Leader Jeff McCabe of Skowhegan.

 

Enjoy Maine’s beautiful fall. And if you head into the woods tell someone were you are going and when you will return. Be safe.

 

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