Currently showing posts tagged Maine Lands

  • New poll finds Maine electorate overwhelmingly supports release of Land for Maine’s Future funds

    91 percent Democrats, 76 percent Independents, 54 percent Republicans from every region of the state support Legislation to Release Voter-Approved Bonds Even When They Hear Other Arguments

    By Ramona du Houx

    Governor Paul LePage has held funds to protect and preserve land in Maine for all Mainers hostage. The program he is strangling is called Land for Maine's Future, LMF. The program expanded areas in Baxter Park, and across the state under the Baldacci administration. But nothing has been done to preserve lands with the LePage administration. In fact, the opposite has happened with more land being opened to loggers. LePage has also tried to stop the board of LMF from functioning. The people of Maine love their state, and the evidence is in with a new poll which shows strong support for LMF.

    “This poll is the latest indication that Maine people, across the state and from all walks of life, are benefitting from and valuing the economic importance of Land for Maine’s Future investments,” shared Maine Coast Heritage Trust President Tim Glidden. “It is time policymakers empower this popular land conservation program, so that it can once again fulfill the wishes of Maine voters.”  

    Headed into the next legislative session, new data from the Republican polling firm Public Opinion Strategies and Democratic firm Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates finds that Maine Democrats, Independents and Republicans from every part of the state overwhelmingly support the release of all voter-approved Land for Maine’s Future funds even when they hear a simulation of the debate that has been occurring on the issue. 

    “We have heard months of debate and suggestions that LMF only benefits the wealthy or that voter-approved bond funds can be used as political leverage,” said Tom Abello, Senior Policy Advisor at The Nature Conservancy in Maine.  “What this poll tells us is that voters know better and are not buying any of it.  We hope Legislators are listening.” 

    It's important to note out door sports enthusiasts support LMF.

    “Understanding how valuable LMF investments are to trengthening our economy, especially in rural areas, I am not at all surprised by these numbers”  said Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine Executive Director David Trahan. “Sportsmen and women and outdoor groups know that LMF benefits all Mainers, not the rich.  We again ask the Governor and legislators to listen and release LMF funds now.”  


    • 74 percent  - Overall support for releasing LMF funds: Given a brief, neutral explanation of the two perspectives on LMF funding (see attached memo), 74 percent of Maine people say the Governor should release voter-approved bond funds. 
    • Only 16 percent side with the idea that the Governor should not release LMF funds.  Those supporting the release of LMF funds include:

    -          91 percent of Democrats, 76 percent of independents and 54 percent of Republicans.

    -          More than 70 percent of Mainers in every region of the state: coastal Maine (75 percent), Northeast (76 percent), South (76 percent) and Central (72 percent)

    By a margin of 79 percent to 16 percent Maine voters reject withholding LMF bonds until the Legislature approves an unrelated law to use revenue from timber harvests on state lands to fund a separate government program to help low-income Maine residents upgrade their heating systems.  Seventy-nine percent chose, instead, to support the view that “once the people of Maine have spoken at the ballot box, no one individual – even the Governor – ought to have the right to veto that decision.”

    By a margin of 73 percent to 12 percent of Maine voters believe that LMF funds benefit all Mainers and visitors versus only benefiting “wealthy landowners.” 

    “We are not surprised to see such strong support for LMF regardless of political affiliation or region in Maine,” said Wolfe Tone of The Trust for Public Land.  “Voters have overwhelmingly approved these bonds at the ballot box six times.  With more than 30 projects in limbo across the state, Mainers understand how withholding LMF funds is hurting their own local economy. It is time to release LMF funding and allow these investments to move forward.”

  • LePage’s tired tactic of political hostage-taking is standing in the way of LMF projects

    Western Mts. of Maine. LePage is holding back voter approved bonds that would protect lands like this until he gets what he wants- which is to start up clear cutting in some of Maine's forests.

    By  State Senator Cathy Breen from Falmouth

    Politics gets a bad rap these days. Most days, I disagree with that perception; but it’s no wonder that people feel frustrated when politicians promise one thing, and then do another.

    That’s the case right now with Governor Paul LePage and his holding hostage the

    Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) bonds--in exchange for increased timber harvesting on state-owned lands.

    To be clear, timber harvesting and LMF bonds are totally unrelated. And, in any other circumstance, these two things would have nothing to do with each other. Unfortunately, the only reason these totally unrelated matters have been linked now, is because Governor LePage is trotting out his tired tactic of political hostage taking.

    What does this mean to you? Or anyone outside the State House?

    Well, currently there are more than 30 projects in 15 of Maine’s 16 counties that are in jeopardy without the governor’s release of $11.5 million in voter-approved bonds.

    So there are two reasons to care: First, there’s probably at least one project near you that is in jeopardy. And, second, chances are, you are one of the 419,000 voters who supported the usage of these LMF bond monies.

    For nearly three decades, the Land for Maine’s Future program been held in high-esteem by Republicans and Democrats alike--and never before, has any governor played politics with such a widely loved program.

    You can see why--the Land for Maine’s Future guarantees the preservation of land for public use such as hunting, fishing, mountain biking, skating, and other traditional Maine pursuits. It has garnered the support from snowmobile clubs, the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, conservation groups, fishing and farming groups and local community groups.

    Just last weeks, folks in my district, held a press conference at Knight’s Pond in Cumberland to raise awareness of this 215 acres of woods, trails, and fresh water that are now in jeopardy.

    This is a case, where to date, more than 200 local donors raised $460,000; the Towns of Cumberland and North Yarmouth have given $300,000 and $100,000 respectively. And, now, all that is pending, is the $225,000  in LMF bond monies that Gov. LePage is refusing to release. So you can see, no one is looking for a handout. Just to close the deal that’s been in the works--and approved by the voters.

    At the press conference, NHL Pro Eric Weinrich of Yarmouth made a plea to Gov. LePage to release the voter approved bonds saying, quote, “In sports and in politics there are always good lessons of teamwork. I hope the Governor will agree that many future generations of kids playing pond hockey will all be winners when Knight's Pond gets fully funded."

    What’s next? Well, days ago, a group of bipartisan lawmakers put forth a new bill that would curtail the governor’s ability to withhold voter-approved bonds. The bill’s sponsor--and my colleague, Republican State Senator Roger Katz said, quote, “When the people of Maine have spoken at the ballot box, no one person — even a governor — should be able to veto that decision. Politics is rough enough out here these days, but we should not add to the meanness by holding innocent bystanders hostage.”

    Senator Katz is right.

    Some things don’t need to be this hard. Or this vitriolic. A deal is a deal. And, as a businessman, Governor LePage knows that better than anyone.