Surrounded by legislators, advocates and children, Governor Baldacci held a ceremonial signing of two important bills dealing with toxic pollution. First up for his signature was a first-in-the-nation law to create a recycling program for compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) which contain small amounts of mercury. Bill sponsor Rep. Seth Berry (D-Bowdoinham) was accompanied by his two sons at the event. And NRCM Toxics Project Director, Matt Prindiville, had his two children.
Light bulb manufacturers fought hard to defeat the CFL recycling legislation, including through efforts to create a working group to keep studying the issue—a tactic they have used across the country. They do not want to accept responsibility for helping finance the collection system. But Maine lawmakers decided that starting in 2011, manufacturers must help pay to collect CFLs through a statewide system. The bill was modeled after the successful electronic waste (e-waste) program adopted in Maine in 2004, which requires manufacturers to assume responsibility for paying to collect and safely recycle old computers.
The governor also signed a law requiring land managers to notify abutters when they plan to apply outdoor pesticides using certain types of spraying equipment. The new law also creates a registry for people who wish to receive detailed information about these pesticide applications. NRCM worked with Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners (MOFGA) on this bill. Governor Baldacci, Rep. Seth Berry, MOFGA Director Russ Libby, and NRCM Toxics Advocate Matt Prindiville provide comments in this linked video.