by Cathy Johnson, NRCM North Woods Project Director
Good afternoon Sen. Nutting, Rep. Pieh and members of the Committee. My name is Cathy Johnson. I am the North Woods Project Director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine. I am here today on behalf of the 12,000 members and supporters of the Natural Resources Council of Maine in opposition to L.D. 1047.
This bill, like L.D. 474, would change the approval process for the revised Comprehensive Land Use Plan. This bill takes that responsibility away from the Governor and gives it to this Committee. Under this bill, only the ACF Committee would be involved; the rest of the Legislature would have no role.
The revised Plan will be the final result of five years of work by LURC staff and Commissioners. LURC has had dozens and dozens of public discussions, discussion panels, guest speakers, and meetings with interested groups. They have received and reviewed hundreds and hundreds of pages of written public comments. They have held eight public workshops across the state, and, most recently, held four all-day facilitated Working Group discussions with a very diverse group of interested parties. Given the huge amount of Agency staff and Commissioner work that is going into the revised Plan, it is appropriate that the Governor have the ultimate responsibility for the approval of the work of his agency. LURC is a state agency that is, by statute, responsible to all the people of the State, working under the Governor’s direction.
It would not be logistically feasible for the ACF Committee to spend the time, hold the discussions, panels, hearings, and working groups, and do the extensive analysis and drafting that LURC has done over the past four years. It would be costly and redundant for this Committee to try to redo all of that work.
Any changes is laws or rules, or new laws or rules, which are suggested by the revised Plan will come to the Legislature before they are enacted. This is the appropriate oversight responsibility of this Committee.
We urge you to vote Ought Not To Pass on L.D. 1047.
Thank you for your attention.