Senator Carson, Representative Tucker, and members of the Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee. My name is Nick Bennett, and I am the Staff Scientist for the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM). NRCM is Maine’s largest environmental advocacy group with more than 25,000 members and supporters. I am testifying in support of LD 1779, “An Act To Establish Standards for Operation and Maintenance and Asset Management for Publicly Owned Treatment Works and Municipal Satellite Collection Systems.”
The key reason for LD 1779 is to allow the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to take action to prevent large releases of pollution from sewage treatment facilities. Under current law, DEP cannot take action to require a treatment plant to repair a pump station or control system that is on the brink of failure until there is a discharge of pollution in violation of a license. It would be better if DEP could act before such a violation occurs. This would be very helpful in protecting Maine’s clean water.
Clean water is one of Maine’s most valuable assets. In 2018, the tourism industry supported 110,000 jobs. That’s one in six of all jobs in Maine, and tourism expenditures totaled more than $9 billion. People come to Maine to boat, swim, fish, and hunt because our water is clean. Sportfishing alone results in more than $300 million of expenditures annually, money directly dependent on clean water. Maine’s commercial fishing industry is also critical economically. In 2018, commercial landings were worth $675 million. The total economic impact of commercial fishing is more than $1 billion, and it supports more than 40,000 jobs. Maine would also not have the diversity of aquatic animals it has—everything from crayfish to brook trout to river otters to porpoise and puffins—without clean water.
In closing, the value of clean water is clear. LD 1779 would help protect clean water, and we urge you to vote ought-to-pass on LD 1779.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify.
 Maine Office of Tourism. 2019. 2018 Annual Report. P. 4. Accessed at https://motpartners.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/2018_MOT_GovCon_Annual-Report.pdf.
 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2011. 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, State Overview. P. 18. Accessed at https://digitalmedia.fws.gov/digital/collection/document/id/858/
Maine Department of Marine Resources. Preliminary 2018 Commercial Maine Landings By Ex-vessel Value. Accessed at https://www.maine.gov/dmr/commercial-fishing/landings/documents/2018ValueBySpecies.Pie.Graph.pdf.
 National Maine Fisheries Service. 2018. Fisheries Economics of the United States 2016. P.88. Accessed at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/resource/document/fisheries-economics-united-states-report-2016