Senator Saviello, Representative Tucker and members of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee. My name is Nick Bennett, I am the staff Scientist for the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM), and I reside in Hallowell. I am testifying in opposition to LD 400 on behalf of NRCM and its 20,000 members and supporters.
Maine’s water quality is one of our most precious assets. A 2013 collaborative report by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) and Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection concluded that Maine’s shoreland zoning regulation was highly effective at both protecting lake water quality and allowing reasonable development. I have attached a summary of this report by one of its authors from ANR to this testimony.
The summary describes seven elements accounting for the success of Maine’s shoreland zoning regulation in protecting water quality. One of these elements is the requirement that structures must be set back 100 feet from the lakeshore. This minimizes impervious surfaces in the near vicinity of lakes and allows runoff from roofs, driveways, and other impervious surfaces to filter through organic matter before it enters lakes.
LD 400 would allow significant incursion into the 100-foot setback on lakes throughout Maine for the purposes of building decks. Decks are impervious surfaces They will increase runoff pollution and decrease lake buffer areas’ ability to filter that pollution. This will harm Maine lakes, reduce the ability of Maine citizens to enjoy them, and reduce the healthy impacts of our lakes on Maine’s economy.
We urge the Committee to vote Ought Not to Pass on LD 400. Thank you for the opportunity to testify. I would be happy to answer any questions.