NRCM has been involved in protecting Maine’s outstanding water resources since we were established in 1959. Our first big campaign was focused on protecting the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. We have worked to clean up our rivers and reduce pollution to our waters ever since. Almost everything NRCM does is beneficial to our lakes, rivers, streams, groundwater, drinking water, and coastal waters. Protecting water helps protect our economy. Maine has nearly 6,000 lakes, which are some of the cleanest in the Northeast. Studies show that our lakes generate more than $3.5 billion annually for Maine’s economy and sustain 52,000 jobs. We have nearly 30,000 miles of rivers and streams, and more than 5,000 miles of coastline if you include all of our islands, which is more than California.
Safeguard Drinking Water We supported a bill addressing arsenic in well water. Although naturally occurring, arsenic poses serious health risks—and one in eight Maine wells is contaminated by arsenic. The bill we helped pass educates Maine people about the importance of testing and treatment options, and establishes a fund to assist high-risk and underserved populations with the cost of testing for drinking water quality. NRCM will continue to support efforts to safeguard our state’s drinking water supplies.
Protect Against Mining Pollution In a major breakthrough in protecting clean water—and Maine taxpayers—we helped pass the toughest mining law in the country. It bans large-scale open-pit mining, and bans mining in some of our state’s most treasured areas, including on all public lands and under Maine lakes, outstanding rivers, and coastal wetlands. NRCM was joined by countless Maine citizens wanting to protect Maine’s waters from mining pollution.
Expand Maine’s Bottle Bill Maine’s famously pretty roadsides and waterways have become increasingly littered with small liquor bottles known as “nips.” NRCM worked hard last year for expansion of Maine’s “Bottle Bill” to include a 5¢ nips deposit. We were involved in establishing the Bottle Bill, which has proven essential in keeping beverage containers from polluting roads and waterways.
Protect from Pesticides NRCM helped stop a bill that would have prevented towns from enacting local ordinances to limit pesticides in their communities. The bill appeared to have been backed by major corporations including pesticide manufacturers. NRCM opposed the bill, and the Legislature defeated it. Currently, 27 Maine towns have ordinances guiding pesticide use.
Face Down Federal Threats The proposed federal budget unleashed attacks on the Clean Water Act and also on programs that safeguard Maine’s coastal waters. NRCM responded by putting new staff in place to make sure Maine people know when attacks are coming at the federal level and what they can do, including urging our Senators King and Collins to take actions to protect Maine’s nature-based economy.
Engage Future Generations NRCM engages middle school teachers in developing hands-on projects including several focused on watersheds. We work with a growing number of schools to reduce food waste, which contributes to climate change and wastes water. We partner with the Girl Scouts, which now offers an NRCM Sustainable Maine patch. We look forward to more opportunities to bring along those who will safeguard the clean waters we work so hard to protect today.watchdog role, today and for the future.