CUMBERLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Lawmakers, town officials and conservationists are calling on the governor to release voter-approved bonds to preserve land.
They held a press conference in Cumberland Monday, where they raised public and private money to buy a 215 acre parcel of private land. The remainder of the funding is supposed to come from the Land for Maine’s Future program, which provides state funding to conservation projects. Governor LePage is withholding millions of dollars in bonds for 30 such projects around the state. He said he will release the bonds when lawmakers move forward with his plan to harvest timber on state-owned land to pay for heating assistance. He reiterated his position in a letter to the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee Monday.
Sen. Cathy Breen (D-Falmouth) said voters approved these bonds and many of her constituents feel betrayed.
“Local communities have really voiced, not only voiced their value of open space and conservation but they have put their own time and a lot of their own local tax money and local private money to make sure that gems like these are preserved,” Breen told NEWS CENTER.
Tuesday, a bipartisan group of lawmakers is submitting legislation to require the governor to issue bonds that have been approved at referendum by Maine voters.