Good afternoon Senator Burns, Representative Hobbins, and members of the Judiciary Committee. My name is Eliza Donoghue. I am here today on behalf of the 16,000 members and supporters of the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM) to speak in support of LD 1168, An Act to Prohibit the Use of Eminent Domain in Certain Public-private Partnerships and To Prohibit the Use of Eminent Domain by a Private Business Entity in a Public-private Partnership.
LD 1168 prevents the use of eminent domain by a private entity involved in a public-private partnership. Eminent domain is a powerful and important tool to promote the health, safety, and welfare of Maine’s residents and environment. It should only be used when the proposed project is in the publics’ best interest. We fear that public-private partnership decisions may not always be made with the publics’ best interest in mind. Therefore, eminent domain authority should not be allowed in public-private partnerships.
This shortcoming in the public-private partnership law became apparent with the proposal of an East-West corridor. NRCM is deeply concerned about the environmental impacts of this possible East-West corridor and we don’t believe that such a project is in Maine’s best interest. An East-West highway and energy corridor would be a raceway for Canadian truckers and a pathway for undisclosed energy supplies (e.g. oil, gas, tar sands), but other than creating jobs during the construction phase, Maine people would not benefit. Instead, the corridor would harm forestlands and fragment the North Woods; damage rivers, streams, and wetlands; destroy fish and wildlife habitat; and undermine Maine’s outdoor recreation economy.
We believe that LD 1168 is good policy for all public-private partnerships and we urge you to vote Ought to Pass.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment.