AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — A collection of conservation and other groups again Thursday called on Gov. Paul LePage to release money for land protection that was approved by Maine voters.
More than $11 million for the Land for Maine’s Future program was passed in statewide bond issue voters in 2010 and 2012.
The governor has refused to release the money, unless the Legislature approves his plan to take money from selling timber from public lands to pay for low income heating assistance.
The Land for Maine Coalition said it represents 250 groups around the state that want the conservation bonds released. They said about half that money will be lost for good if it isn’t released this year.
“This is very, very simple. If Gov. LePage doesn’t release the 2010 voter approved Land for Maine’s Future bonds this June, he will be intentionally and singlehandedly undermining targeted investments in local economies across Maine,” said Tim Glidden with the Maine Coast Heritage Trust.
The governor has said many times he won’t release the money until his plan is passed.
The Maine Senate passed a bill Thursday sponsored by Senator Roger Katz to change Maine law, to force LePage to release the bond money. The House also passed it.
It is virtually certain to be vetoed by the governor.