By Nakell Williams
WABI-TV news story
Legislators in charge of the state’s natural resources are considering a bill to review the merger that created the Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry.
Representatives from several agencies who have a stake in the committee’s decision were at the public hearing and have different views about whether the assessment should occur.
“We have a very significant budget proposal that rearranges our department now for the first time in three years and legislators will be examining that over the next several months. We think maybe they could learn about the department and answer some of the questions through the normal course of budget hearings, ” said Commissioner Walt Whitcomb.
Others say they support the proposed review as it could address some of their constituents’ concerns.
“There are particular initiatives that we are concerned about. The first is moving the public lands over to the Bureau of Forestry because the two agencies have very different missions,” Eliza Donoghue.
Department leadership says their focus is on the vitality of Maine’s forest industry.
“Administration is anxious to focus on the forest health aspects of working with Maine’s very large forest industry as opposed to having a force dedicated to primarily to firefighting and doing some other things that we don’t think are high priority,” the commissioner added.
The committee will render a decision at their next work session on February 26.