AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Conservationists, Sportsmen, fishermen and a bi-partisan group of lawmakers gathered in Augusta to show support for a 5 million dollar bond to preserve open space. The money would go to the Land For Maine’s Future Program. That money is used to preserve working forests, farms, and waterfronts that are under pressure from development. The Land For Maine’s future Bond is one of five bond issues totaling nearly $96 million dollars that will go before maine lawmakers. The largest is a $51.5 million bond for transportation projects. There are others for research and development, clean water projects, and higher education. If approved, by lawmakers, the bonds would still need to be approved by voters. Melanie Osier-Gilbert is a Wholesale Lobster dealer who depends on access to the waterfront. She supports Lands For Maine’s Future, and says without it she may not have been able to stay in business at the family wharf.
“The fishermen, I mean without the access little by little the access disappears and then their way of life disappears and so they’ll have to move, and its just important for the whole Maine economy and the Maine coast,” said Osier-Gilbert.
While lawmakers on both sides of the aisle support the bond, Governor Lepage says that he can not support any bond proposal untill the legislature addresses the shortfall in the 2013 budget and welfare spending. The legislature returns to work this week to take up both the budget and the bond proposals.