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Legislative committee hears public input for act to protect public lands

Many people testifying criticized the bureau for the current lack of transparency.
(Gray tv)
Published: Apr. 1, 2021 at 3:53 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - The legislature’s Committee on Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry held a public hearing today on act to protect public lands.

The bill requires Bureau of Parks and Lands to adopt rules that establish an objective evaluation process to determine if a proposed activity on designated land would cause that land to be substantially altered.

This comes in response to the state’s lease of a small section of land that’s part of a proposed 145-mile power line project.

The project in Western Maine is aimed at bringing Canadian hydropower to the New England grid.

Many people testifying criticized the bureau for its lack of transparency.

“Current evaluation process is opaque, poorly documented, and completely lacking in public notice or comment. There hasn’t been an objective evaluation here, there has been no opportunity for public notice or comment, there’s no standardized review process, no clear standard, no documentation,” said Jeffrey Reardon with Trout Unlimited.

The current process does not require legislative input.

No one spoke in opposition to the bill.

The bill will move to a work session at a later date.

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