AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine voters may get the chance to decide if they want to put more money into protecting land and working waterfront. Several conservation groups, including the Sportsmen’s Alliance of Maine and Maine Coast Heritage Trust, have teamed up with legislators to propose new funding for Land for Maine’s Future.
That popular program is 30 years old and is near the end of its current funding? So Senator Cathy Breen (D-Falmouth) is leading the effort for a $75 million bond to revitalize the LMF program, plus another $20 million to rebuild infrastructure at state parks.
“The LMF program has really been languishing for a good eight years,” Breen told a State House press conference. “As a result, there are a lot of natural resources that are at risk of being sold.”
Governor Janet Mills is supporting the effort, although she did not endorse a specific dollar amount for the bond. Legislators say they have to compete with many other requests for money but believe protecting land and water access is important to Maine people.
The LMF program director says the agency has approved 19 conservation projects, which will use $3.8 million in remaining funds. It is also taking applications for projects that would use a final $2 million in working waterfront funds.
If the new bond proposal is approved by lawmakers it will also need the approval of Maine voters in November. While the dollar amount could change, Legislative passage appears likely. Sen. Breen says her $95 million bond has 104 cosponsors— meaning more than two-thirds of the entire Legislature has already signed on in support.