The Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM) closely monitors policy developments related to environmental issues in Maine at the state and federal levels.
We actively promote policies to protect against air pollution and water pollution, ensuring clean air and clean water in Maine.
We work to conserve land for public access and for healthy Maine wildlife habitat.
Everything we do promotes clean energy and efforts to address the threat of climate change and global warming in Maine.
Environmental Issues in Maine This Year
During the year ahead, we will be working on a broad range of environmental issues in Maine and at the federal level, including the following:
- Solar Energy
- Cleaner Transportation and Electric Vehicles in Maine
- Climate Change
- Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument
- Food Waste and Recovery
- Reducing Plastic Pollution
- Healthy Waters
- Stopping Rollbacks at the State and Federal Levels
Maine is far behind other New England states in capturing the economic and clean energy benefits of solar power. Over the past two years, a strong bipartisan majority of Maine lawmakers have voted multiple times to strengthen Maine’s solar energy policies, but these efforts have been thwarted by Governor LePage. The governor consistently vetoes common-sense, popular solar energy bills. His allies in the Legislature have defeat efforts to override his vetoes, but only by the narrowest of margins.
We are pressing for passage of a new solar bill and other improvements in state policy that will create jobs and help Mainers tap into the sun for increased energy independence.
Over the next 10 years, electric vehicles (EVs) will become a leading form of transportation. With lower energy and maintenance costs, EVs will replace internal combustion engines as a central strategy for reducing carbon pollution that is causing climate change. Many countries already have announced plans to phase out internal combustion engines.
Here in Maine, we have an opportunity to jump-start a transition toward EVs through strategic use of millions of dollars made available as part of the Volkswagen Settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This settlement requires VW to distribute $2.7 billion for investment at the state level in transportation that reduces air pollution.
We are advocating that some of the money available to Maine be used to boost EV sales incentives and charging stations.
Climate change is happening, humans are responsible. Action is needed now to reduce carbon pollution and prepare for the impacts of climate change. Maine already is experiencing harm from climate change, and the impacts will worsen in the future.
NRCM is working to create momentum for a new state Climate Action Plan that would help reduce carbon pollution by as much as 50% (from 1990 levels) by 2030. Our advocacy in support of energy efficiency funding, solar energy, and electric vehicles will contribute toward this goal.
Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument
NRCM has worked closely with residents and business owners in the Katahdin region to build support for the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument (KWW). The Monument already is delivering significant positive benefits to the region. We oppose efforts by the Trump Administration to review, and possibly alter, KWW.
Over the next few years, we will help ensure that KWW is as successful as possible for the communities in the area and Maine as a whole.
Food Waste and Recovery
As much as 40% of food in the U.S. is wasted. This unused food ends up in landfills, where it decomposes and releases carbon pollution. Much of this food could be redirected toward hunger relief programs. Also, public schools and other institutions could save millions of dollars in unnecessary waste disposal fees if they reduced food waste.
We are working closely with dozens of schools to implement food recovery programs that reduce food waste, and we are advocating for changes in Maine policies that help farmers, schools, restaurants, businesses, residents, and others reduce food waste.
Reducing Plastic Pollution
Many Maine communities have adopted local ordinances to phase out the use of plastic shopping bags and polystyrene food containers that contribute to plastic pollution.
We have helped most of these towns with the information they need to adopt policies that promote reusable bags and recyclable substitutes for food packaging.
Maine’s rivers, lakes, and streams are some of our most valuable natural resources, supporting thousands of jobs and providing wonderful experiences for Mainers and visitors to our state. Since the establishment of NRCM in 1959, we have worked to protect our waters through a broad range of safeguards that reduce pollution. We also have played a lead role in securing the removal of dams on the Kennebec and Penobscot Rivers, enabling sea-run fish to reach prime spawning habitat.
We now are working to build on this record of accomplishment through additional protections for our rivers, lakes, and streams.
Maine would be a different and less pleasant place if not for the work of countless people who devoted their time and passion over the past 60 years to help protect our natural resources. Year after year, lobbyists and some legislators attempt to roll back these protections. But year after year, NRCM is there to lead the fight to defeat those rollbacks. Now we face the additional challenge of rollbacks at the national level.
We are working with people across Maine to fight back against efforts to cut critical funding from the U.S. EPA, gut vital programs to address global warming pollution, and undermine bipartisan approaches to environmental protection that are so important for states like Maine where our environment and economy are tightly intertwined.
—Pete Didisheim, NRCM Advocacy Director
Banner photo by David Small of Old Town, Maine