Senator Boyle, Representative Welsh, and members of the Joint Standing Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. My name is Sarah Lakeman. I am the Sustainable Maine Policy Advocate for the Natural Resources Council of Maine and I appreciate this opportunity to testify in Support of LD 1634.
NRCM was involved in shaping and passing LD 1308, the Architectural Paint Stewardship legislation, and we have a strong interest in the successful implementation of this program. Industry data on Maine paint sales suggests that this program could result in the collection and environmentally responsible recycling of more than 300,000 gallons of paint annually in Maine. This program will save money for Maine towns by avoiding the high costs of processing used paint that currently is collected sporadically through household hazardous waste events. The program will benefit Maine residents through establishment of convenient collection sites for paint reuse and recycling statewide. Retail stores that participate as collection sites will also benefit through increased foot traffic and sales.
LD 1634 gives the DEP the discretion and flexibility of allowing for an earlier implementation date for a producer or representative organization that proposes to begin collection any time leading up to the established July 2015 program start date. Information from programs already implemented in Oregon, California, and Connecticut has helped the paint industry and stakeholder groups refine and improve the model for other states, including Maine, and we feel that our State is well positioned to begin this program earlier than anticipated in the original bill.
Other states in our region, including Vermont and Rhode Island, are due to begin implementation of their programs in 2014, and lawmakers in New Hampshire, New York and New Jersey are all considering paint stewardship legislation this year. Providing the DEP Commissioner with flexibility to implement the Maine program earlier would help streamline and integrate paint collection programs across the Northeast.
The Architectural Paint Stewardship Program is supported by the paint industry, the environmental community, local governments, homeowners, and small businesses. This program will create a simple solution for collecting and managing unwanted paint and increase convenience for Maine residents and businesses, while protecting the environment and human health. For these reasons, NRCM thinks that the sooner this program gets started, the better, and that’s what we support LD 1634. Thank you for the opportunity to testify and I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.