Public lands are designated for public benefit — whether it be wildlife, recreation or natural resources, they are protected from development to benefit Maine’s people and environment. Because of this, Maine’s constitution states that anything significantly changing their purpose must pass a two-thirds vote in the Legislature.
Now, Central Maine Power is arguing that cutting down a swath of trees, spraying the understory with herbicides, and putting up power poles is not a significant change in land use. If private corporations are going to use public lands for profit, Mainer’s voices must be considered to ensure that the project will benefit Maine enough to compensate for the land lost.
With the CMP corridor, I believe there is no such benefit; most jobs will be short-term; and our iconic forest, wildlife and scenic views will be disturbed. This decision could set a precedent for future, harmful decisions made behind closed doors. This does not benefit Maine’s people or environment.
Because of this, I strongly support LD 471, “An Act To Require Legislative Approval for Certain Leases of Public Lands,” which clarifies that cutting down a swath of trees for a power line is, in fact, a significant change in use from the conservation, natural resource, or recreation uses that these lands are designated for. It also creates transparency in decision making, ensuring that important decisions are voted on.
As a young person in Maine, I want to see the next generation have access to the natural beauty we have been lucky enough to experience.