AUGUSTA, Maine — LD 774, a bill put forth by Rep. Lori Gramlich, D- Old Orchard Beach that aims to protect Maine's beaches and shoreline from erosion has earned approval from the Legislature's Environmental and Natural Resources Committee.
The vote was 12-0 with one member yet to vote.
Gramlich said she has worked hard to move the bill forward since she took office more than a year ago. With a unanimous vote real action can begin.
A report by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) stated that the habitat for the federally endangered piping plover and other shoreline birds that depend on Maine beaches for nesting can be improved if there is restoration of eroded beaches.
Gramlich added, "In my community and many others, the beach is a main economy driver. Millions of visitors come to Maine beaches each year, representing tens of thousands of jobs. As the sea levels rise, coastal erosion is threatening our environment and economy. The time to address this problem is now."
LD 774 was amended and requires the Maine DEP to develop strategies to mitigate shoreline erosion. The goal is to maintain healthy beaches that provide protection against storms, preserve wildlife habitats, and provide recreational opportunities. The Maine DEP is required to relay recommendations to the committee by Dec. 15, 2020.
A 2019 report by the Maine Geological Survey indicated that both sea level rise and frequent and severe storms in recent years have been linked to climate change.
Additional votes in both the House and Senate are forthcoming during the coming weeks.