|Speaker Pingree Introduces Bill Establishing Maine Farmland Fund and Bond Issue to Support Maine’s Traditional Industries|
2 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333
For Immediate Release: March 11, 2009
Contact: Tim Feeley, 287-1300
Speaker Pingree Introduces Bill Establishing Maine Farmland Fund and Bond Issue to Support Maine’s Traditional Industries
Effort would support waterfront and farmland preservation, make donating easements easier for families, and aid Maine-based food processing centers
AUGUSTA – Speaker of the House Hannah Pingree introduced legislation on Wednesday that would create local jobs, support Maine’s traditional industries, and protect the Maine Brand. The legislation calls for greater support for Maine’s working waterfronts, creating a fund to protect working farms from development and would assist businesses seeking to process Maine seafood, produce or livestock.
“Maine needs to protect traditional industries and maintain the integrity and strength of the Maine Brand,” said Speaker Pingree. “This bill provides a comprehensive approach to protecting and promoting agriculture and fishing in Maine in these economic hard times.”
Specifically, Pingree’s bill would send a bond question to Maine voters to ratify a $16 million bond. The legislation calls for $5.5 million to recapitalize the already establish Maine Working Waterfront program, $5.5 million to create the Maine Farmland Fund and would provide $5 million for the Finance Authority of Maine for the purpose of providing grants and loans for food processing for fishing and agriculture industries, all within the State.
“Maine does not have sufficient processing capacity for seafood, particularly lobster, and does not have sufficient organic slaughterhouse capacity to support our current livestock population,” said Pingree. “If we are to continue to support food production in Maine, we should do our best to ensure we create jobs in Maine and produce the best products we can.”
Maine has a Working Waterfront Access Pilot Program and it has assisted in preserving some key wharfs in the state. However, Pingree fears, that in these increasingly difficult economic times there is an increased chance that these prime waterfront locations could be lost forever to development.
“Maine’s connection to the land and the sea are an important part of the Maine mystique,” said Pingree. “But most importantly, it will help to preserve and create jobs in Maine’s traditional fishing and farming industries.”
To read LD 894, An Act To Establish the Maine Farmland Fund and Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Support Maine's Traditional Industries, go to: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_124th/billtexts/HP061201.asp.