Read MOFGA’s most recent policy column for our takeaways from this legislative session.
Here are the bills we’re tracking in the Maine Legislature. Click the link above to be sure you get our announcements. You also may check the status of bills on the Legislature’s website.
MOFGA’s Top Legislative Priorities Include:
MOFGA is celebrating landmark policies enacted by Maine’s Legislature. With bipartisan support, two bills address the devastating problem of farmland contamination from PFAS. One bill stops the practice of sludge spreading on farmland, and another strengthens the state’s plan to phase out PFAS pesticides.
LD 1911 – An Act To Prohibit the Contamination of Clean Soils with So-called Forever Chemicals will put an end to the practice of spreading sewage sludge on farmland, which has resulted in widespread contamination of water, soil, crops, livestock, wildlife and the physical well-being of rural families.
LD 2019 – An Act To Require the Registration of Adjuvants in the State and To Regulate the Distribution of Pesticides with Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances. The legislation strengthens Maine’s plan to gather information about and phase out the roughly 1600 Maine-registered pesticide products containing PFAS, extending to Maine’s Board of Pesticides Control (BPC) the authority to sunset PFAS pesticides. The bill also authorizes the BPC to regulate fluorinated pesticide containers that leach PFAS into pesticide products, and it establishes a new revenue stream for the BPC through adjuvant registration fees.
The plan for eliminating PFAS pesticides in Maine is a measured approach that aligns with the state’s efforts to remove PFAS from consumer products by 2030. Farmers who rely on PFAS pesticides will have ample time to find safer alternatives. The bill’s sponsor still noted the need for action due to the highly toxic nature of PFAS.
LD 2013 – An Act Relating to Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances Contamination in the State. MOFGA also is encouraged by the unanimous legislative support for this bill, which calls for $100 million in direct support for farmers struggling with PFAS contamination. The Legislature’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs (AFA) Committee honored Governor Mills’ $60 million budget request for direct farmer support, voting unanimously to include this in the state’s supplemental budget.
LD 1875 – An Act To Address Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances Pollution from State-owned Solid Waste Disposal Facilities.
Yet another bill passed calling for a plan to treat PFAS effluent in state-owned landfills. PFAS is present in much of the waste being landfilled at the Juniper Ridge Landfill in Old Town. Effluent from the landfill is contributing to PFAS contamination of the Penobscot River, which the Penobscot Nation relies upon for sustenance.
MOFGA Also Is Working On The Following Bills:
LD 1626 – An Act Implementing the Recommendations of the Task Force on Changes to the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Implementing Act. Passing sovereignty legislation will restore the Wabanaki Nations’ inherent rights to self-governance, including restoring jurisdiction over their lands and waters. This will enable the Wabanaki people to better advance environmental protections and climate solutions in the Wabanaki homelands that are now called Maine. Securing sovereignty for the Wabanaki Confederacy is one of the top five recommendations of the state’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous and Maine Tribal Populations. MOFGA is a member of the Wabanaki Alliance, which is working hard to pass this landmark legislation. More than 1,800 people testified in support of this bill at a public hearing on February 15. The bill awaits votes in the House and Senate.
LD 174 – An Act To Implement the Recommendations of the Ending Hunger by 2030 Advisory Group. Sponsored by Representative William Pluecker. This bill calls for action across Maine’s administrative departments to address the state’s escalating hunger crisis. A report released in January 2022 entitled, Everyone at the Table: Maine’s Plan to End Hunger by 2030, lays out a roadmap for Maine to create opportunities for all of us to collaborate and ensure that all Maine people have the fresh, healthful food they want and need to live productive lives while supporting Maine’s agricultural economy. The report emphasizes that the state must maximize the use of federal nutrition programs, and stresses the need for addressing “economic and cultural conditions” that sometimes trap people in poverty. The report also highlights the need to address structural racism as an underlying force for the experience of food insecurity that black, indigenous, and people of color in Maine are experiencing at a rate two to nearly four times higher than the state average. The Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee supported this bill. It awaits votes in the House and Senate.
LD 489 – RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Establish a Right to a Healthy Environment. Sponsored by Senator Chloe Maxmin. This bill would amend the Maine constitution to secure rights to clean air, clean water, and a healthy environment. This form of amendment has been proposed and passed in Pennsylvania, Montana and New York and is under consideration in other states. The UN Human Rights Council has established the right to clean air, clean water and healthy environment as a human right. The legal precedent that this bill would set is powerful as it would ensure that bills passed in the future could not violate the rights to a healthy environment, meaning that environmental policy cannot simply be undone by a new Governor or Legislature. It protects Maine people and communities from large corporations, polluters, developments, and other infrastructure that does not protect our right to a healthy environment. The Senate finally passed the bill during the 2021 legislative session, however the House did not complete its voting on the bill and carried it over to the 2022 session. A House vote on this bill is imminent. MOFGA is partnering with a formidable coalition of organizations and businesses throughout Maine to pass the Pine Tree Amendment. The Coalition has assembled a wide range of sector letters to make it easy for you to advocate for this landmark legislation. Find and sign your letter here. Also, here is a wonderful opinion piece by Sue Inches.
As a proud member of Maine’s Environmental Priorities Coalition, MOFGA supports an exciting Common Environmental Agenda for 2022. Priority bills include:
- LD 489: Add the Pine Tree Amendment to Maine’s Constitution
- LD 736: Expand our Ecological Reserve System
- LD 1626: Recognize Tribal Sovereignty
- LD 1639: Stop Filling Maine Landfills with Out-of-State Waste
- LD 1902: Fund Opportunities for Climate Education in Schools
- LD 1964: Upgrade Water Quality Classifications
- LD 1979: Help Restore Maine’s Great Rivers
- LD 2013: Support Farmers Impacted By PFAS Contamination
- LD 2018: Advance Environmental Justice & Equity in State Actions
If you have questions about any of the bills mentioned above, or would like MOFGA to engage on another bill not listed, please contact Heather Spalding, MOFGA Deputy Director and Senior Policy Director by email at [email protected] or by phone at 207-568-6006.