Maine

Require Maine’s Coastal Municipalities to Plan for Sea Level Rise!

Loss | May 19 2017

Coastal Preservation

The Maine Chapter worked with our Northeast Regional Manager to support state legislation that amends the State's growth planning and land use laws to reflect that addressing the effects of sea level rise is a state planning and regulatory goal, and encourages Maine's coastal municipalities to incorporate sea level rise projections and adaptation strategies into their town plans.

Summary for LD540, An Act To Help Municipalities Prepare for Sea Level Rise:

"This bill amends the State's growth planning and land use laws to reflect that addressing the effects of sea level rise is a state planning and regulatory goal. The bill amends the laws regarding the State's coastal management policies to direct state, local and certain federal agencies responsible for regulating, planning, developing or managing coastal resources to conduct their activities affecting the coastal area consistent with the policy of encouraging the assessment of and planning for the effects of the rise in sea level. The bill provides that a coastal municipality or multimunicipal region that includes a coastal municipality, if the municipality or region adopts a growth management program under the State's growth planning and land use laws, may include in its comprehensive plan projections regarding sea level changes and the potential effects of the rise in sea level and may develop a coordinated plan for addressing the effects of the rise in sea level."

Our Northeast Regional Manager submitted testimony on behalf of the Maine Chapter to support passage of LD540 with the following amendments:

  • Add 2019 as the date by when municipal or multimunicipal SLR projections and vulnerability assessments must be completed by;
  • Add 2020 as the date by when SLR must be included in municipal plans;
  • Specify what types of privately held infrastructure should be included in purview of the plan (i.e. property of significant public value (beaches, public ocean access points, historic landmarks, etc);
  • Consider including a plan for the State to offer simple guidance to coastal municipalities to assist with standardizing compliance with this law;
  • Change the currently passive language in LD540 to require compliance;
  • Incorporate an enforcement mechanism to ensure compliance; and
  • Incorporate punitive measures for noncompliance.

On April 7, 2017, the Committee voted that the bill Ought To Pass As Amended. The amendment removed from the bill the provision that directs government agencies responsible for regulating, planning, developing or managing coastal resources to conduct their activities consistent with the policy of encouraging the assessment of and planning for the effects of the rise in sea level. On April 20, the Speaker of the House brought the bill forward, and it was subsequently accepted as amended (see roll-call). The bill was also called to the Senate floor on April 20, and prevailed (see roll-call).

However, this Bill was returned by the Governor, together with objections pursuant to Article IV, Part Third, Section 2 of the Constitution of the State of Maine, and after reconsideration, the House proceeded to vote on the question: "Shall this Bill become a law notwithstanding the objections of the Governor?" With 84 having voted in the affirmative and 61 in the negative, with 4 being absent, and 2 excused, accordingly, the Governor's veto was unfortunately sustained (Maine law requires 2/3 majority of both chambers' members who are present for the vote to overturn the Governor's veto. See how YOUR electeds voted here, and consider sending an email of thanks to the yays or concern to the nays/absent/excused!). On May 19th, this bill was killed by veto of Governor LePage.

Thanks to House Representative Blume for her work on this important bill. The Surfrider Foundation looks forward to continuing to work on this important issue.

Learn how to submit testimony & please give us a shout for talking points and/or to get more involved in our work in Maine.

You can also volunteer with our chapter and join/renew your Surfrider membership to BEST support our work in Maine.

THANK YOU!

Coastal Preservation

Beaches are a unique and dynamic landscape that should be protected for the future. The Surfrider Foundation is leading efforts at the state and local levels to protect our shorelines on every coast. Our efforts are focused on establishing appropriate setbacks for development, opposing shoreline structures, and placing coastal lands in public trust.

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