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. 474.
This bill is essentially the same bill which was proposed last session as L.D. 472. It would do two things. The first is a notification requirement, identical to that proposed in L.D. 558. We oppose that section for the reasons stated in our testimony on L.D. 558. The second provision of this bill would require the entire Legislature to approve LURC’s revised Comprehensive Land Use Plan.
When this bill was proposed two years ago, the Legislature rejected the original bill, and, instead, put in place a process whereby LURC has been keeping the Committee apprised on progress on the revised Plan. Pursuant to the legislation passed two years ago, LURC will be bringing the revised Plan to the Committee 30 days before it is adopted.
Since LURC began its revision of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan in 2004, LURC staff and Commissioners have held dozens and dozens of public discussions, discussion panels, guest speakers, and meetings with interested groups. They held eight public workshops across the state, and, most recently, held four all-day facilitated Working Group discussions with a large, very diverse group of interested parties. Attached to my testimony is a list of the events which have taken place and those still ahead. The list was provided by LURC to the working group on Jan. 26, 2009.
There is no way that this Committee or the Legislature as a whole has the time to duplicate the data collection and analysis, the extensive public input sessions, the panel discussions with experts, and the meetings and discussions which have taken place over the last five years regarding the proposed revision of the CLUP. Nor is it a good use of resources for the Legislature to try to duplicate that process.
The process put in place two years adequately ensures that the ACF Committee has the necessary level of information and oversight. Requiring approval of the Plan by the Legislature would result in time consuming, costly and duplicative hearings and would engage the Committee in a level of detailed management that is more appropriately the responsibility of the agency.
Any statutory changes or rules which might result from the revised Plan would come before this Committee and the entire Legislature. That is the more appropriate role of the Legislature.
We urge you to vote Ought Not To Pass on L.D. 474.
Thank you for your attention.