This year the Environmental Priorities Coalition’s nine priority bills represent the best collective opportunities to protect and increase access to clean water, protect biodiversity and our environment, fund opportunities for climate education, address out-of-state waste, and improve tribal-state relations.

Watch the recording of the EPC's 2022 Kick-Off Event here.

Epc 2021 Priority Bills Website Photos 6

LD 1626: Recognize Tribal Sovereignty

Status: The bill was left in the possession of the Senate when the Legislature adjourned "Sine Die" (no further legislative business scheduled) and was placed in the Legislative Files. The Maine Legislature did not officially enact the bill.

The Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980 established a different, more restrictive status for the Wabanaki tribes in Maine than that of all 570 other federally-recognized tribes in the United States. A bipartisan task force recommended 22 changes to the Act to restore the tribes’ inherent rights, including the tribes’ right to regulate hunting, fishing, natural resources, and land use on tribal lands, as allowed by federal law.

Factsheets: Tribal Sovereignty 2022 EPC Fact Sheet

Epc 2021 Priority Bills Website Photos 8

LD 1639: Stop Filling Maine Landfills with Out-of-State Waste

Status: Signed into law by Governor Mills on April 18!

A loophole in Maine’s waste management laws allows landfilling out-of-state waste, including hazardous construction and demolition debris. As a result, Juniper Ridge Landfill in Alton has become a dumping ground for toxic waste, threatening the area’s drinking water supply and sites of historical, cultural, spiritual significance for the Penobscot Nation. Closing the loophole will protect Maine’s environment and communities.

Factsheets: Out of State Waste 2022 EPC Fact Sheet

EPC 2022 Priority Bill Pine Tree Amendment

LD 489: Add the Pine Tree Amendment to Maine’s Constitution

Status: The House failed to pass this legislation by the two-thirds needed on April 5. Stay tuned for more on this bill in the coming months!

Maine people, our livelihoods, and outdoors culture require a healthy environment to thrive. The COVID-19 pandemic and accelerating changes to our climate have revealed the importance of prioritizing Maine's resilience and planning for future sustainability. Constitutionally protected environmental rights provide a foundation on which to build a resilient and sustainable Maine for today and the future.

Factsheets: Pine Tree Amendment 2022 EPC Fact Sheet

EPC 2022 Priority Bill Ecological Reserves

LD 736: Expand our Ecological Reserve System

Status: Signed into law by Governor Mills on March 29!

As Maine faces growing threats from development, pollution, and climate change, it is more important than ever to protect rare, threatened, and endangered species and ensure ecosystems remain intact. The goal of protecting all Maine’s habitat types has not been met, even when accounting for privately held lands, because the 20-year-old law limits the size of the state’s ecological reserve system. LD 736 updates the state’s ecological reserve law and will help meet Maine’s climate goals through nature-based carbon sequestration and storage.

Factsheets: Ecological Reserve System 2022 EPC Fact Sheet

EPC 2022 Priority Bill Climate Education

LD 1902: Fund Opportunities for Climate Education in Schools

Status: Enacted by the Maine House on March 22. Passed along party lines in the Maine Senate on March 9 and funded at $100 millon in the State Budget!

Maine students must be prepared to respond to the climate crisis. As a climate action leader, Maine has identified the need for climate education – but teachers need support. Climate education will provide Maine students with the tools they need to propel Maine to a clean, green future. Maine schools, students, and teachers need support for climate education.

Factsheets: Climate Education 2022 EPC Fact Sheet

EPC 2022 Priority Bill Water Quality

LD 1964: Upgrade Water Quality Classifications

Status: Signed into law by Governor Mills on March 31!

Maine’s water classification program provides a principal foundation for the protection of water quality in Maine in accordance with the federal Clean Water Act. Maine Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) upgrade package includes increased protections for many important rivers and streams. DEP’s periodic upgrades of water quality protection and classifications are among the most important tools to improve and protect Maine’s clean water. We must support DEP’s proposed upgrades to Maine waters and protect what makes Maine so special.

Factsheets: Water Quality Classifications 2022 EPC Fact Sheet

EPC 2022 Priority Bill Dam Removal

LD 1979: Help Restore Maine’s Great Rivers

Status: Enacted by the Maine Legislature on April 19. This bill turned into law at the end of the session.

Supporting LD 1979 (with amendments) will maintain the authority of Maine’s resource agencies to make science-based recommendations to restore our rivers and fisheries.

The health of Maine’s rivers and sea-run fish – including the endangered Atlantic salmon – is threatened by dams that block upstream and downstream migration. Federal relicensing provides opportunities to re-evaluate the impact of dams, but dam owners are trying to limit the authority of Maine’s natural resource agencies to participate fully in this process. The Legislature should not hamstring Maine’s resource agencies by preventing them from making science-based recommendations to restore our rivers and fisheries.

Factsheets: Restore Maines Great Rivers 2022 EPC Fact Sheet

EPC 2022 Priority Bill Tribal Sovereignty

LD 2013: Support Farmers Impacted by PFAS Contamination

Status: Enacted by the Maine House on April 7 and passed unanimously in the Maine Senate and funded in the State Budget at $60M.

PFAS contamination threatens Maine farmers and farmland. Maine farmers are not responsible for this contamination and should not bear the burden of remediation. The state must step in to help farmers deal with the impacts of this contamination. LD 2013 will provide funding and resources to support Maine farmers impacted by PFAS contamination.

Factsheets: Establish PFAS Farmers Fund 2022 EPC Fact Sheet

EPC 2022 Priority Bill Tribal Sovereignty 2

LD 2018: Advance Environmental Justice & Equity in State Actions

Status: This bill turned into law at the end of the session.

LD 2018 will define, prioritize, and support meaningful community engagement, equitable decision-making, and just environmental policies. Environmental policies should be developed, implemented, and enforced in close partnership with the communities impacted "first and worst" by environmental and climate threats. State processes should be inclusive and accessible to Maine's most impacted communities, who have been historically underrepresented in policymaking.

Factsheets: Advance EJ in State Actions 2022 EPC Fact Sheet