Pete Didisheim, NRCM Advocacy Director
“Maine people were poorly served today when the House of Representatives voted 75-65 to establish a flawed study commission on the future of the Land Use Regulation Commission.
Lawmakers had two options before them – a Majority Report that we believe is rigged to reach a predetermined outcome of abolishing LURC; and a Minority Report that would create a more balanced study group aimed at improving LURC. Unfortunately, a majority of the House opted for the study group that could end up putting a rubber stamp on proposals to abolish LURC.
It is not correct to treat this simply as a political squabble over competing study groups. This is the beginning of a critical debate over the future of the 10.4 million acres of unorganized territories that make up half the state of Maine. All of Maine people have an interest in the outcome of this process, yet their interests will not be well represented by a such a slanted study group.
The House had several opportunities today to adopt amendments that would have provided more balance to the proposed study process, yet all were rebuffed.
These legislative commissions and study groups are like trains. It matters who is on-board, and it matters where it is heading. Unfortunately, it appears that this train will be loaded up with people who have already made up their mind and know where they want to go – despite the overwhelming opposition that emerged this session to the idea of abolishing LURC. And if that’s what happens, then Maine will have squandered an opportunity to build a bi-partisan consensus around a reform package to improve LURC’s performance on behalf of the people of Maine.”