AUGUSTA — A bill from Senator Chloe Maxmin, D-Nobleboro, the Pine Tree Amendment, received bipartisan committee support Wednesday in the State Legislature.
LD 489, “RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Establish a Right to a Healthy Environment,” received a vote of 9-3 in the Legislature’s Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.
“Maine’s healthy environment is the cornerstone of our state’s heritage. It supports both our economy and our way of life. But the Maine I grew up with is in danger. The Gulf of Maine warms faster than 99% of the world’s oceans, our summers are drier, and our winters are warmer,” said Sen. Maxmin. “In order to protect our natural resources for future generations, we must state loud and clear that all Mainers have a right to a healthy environment. I’m so grateful to the committee for giving the Pine Tree Amendment the bipartisan support it deserves.”
LD 489, the Pine Tree Amendment, would amend the Constitution of Maine to grant the people of the state a right to a clean and healthy environment and to the preservation of the natural, cultural, recreational, scenic and healthful qualities of the environment. This groundbreaking bill would protect the environment for Maine people, recreational enthusiasts and workers who rely on Maine's natural resources to make a living.
This legislation has bipartisan support and is co-sponsored by House Assistant Majority Leader Rep. Rachel Talbot Ross, D-Portland; Rep. Bill Pluecker, I-Warren; Sen. Richard Bennett, R-Oxford; Sen. Russell Black, R-Franklin; Rep. Maggie O’Neil, D-Saco; Rep. Scott Landry, D-Farmington; and Rep. Laurie Osher, D-Orono.
"The right to breathe clean air and drink clean water should be as fundamental as our right to vote. The Pine Tree Amendment further instills trust in our government to protect Maine's natural resources for generations to come," said Maureen Drouin, Executive Director of Maine Conservation Voters.
Similar Constitutional amendments have been passed in Pennsylvania and Montana. There are active proposals in New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Maryland, Kentucky, Vermont and West Virginia, led by an organization called Green Amendments for the Generations.
LD 489 now faces votes in the Maine Senate and House. Constitutional amendments require two-thirds approval in both the Senate and House, and approval from a majority of Maine voters.