AUGUSTA — The Maine Senate voted Wednesday in favor of the Pine Tree Amendment, sponsored by Senator Chloe Maxmin, D-Nobleboro. LD 489, “RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Establish a Right to a Healthy Environment,” received unanimous support in an initial vote.
As amended, 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, 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.
“Here in Maine, our economy and our way of life are tied to our environment — from our pristine forests to our working waterfronts. But the right to a healthy environment isn’t something we’re guaranteed. The Pine Tree Amendment would fix that,” said Sen. Maxmin. “This bill would ensure Mainers can enjoy and count on our natural resources for generations to come, regardless of changes in the political tides. I’m grateful to my fellow senators who supported this bill.”
This legislation 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 faces further votes in the Legislature. Constitutional amendments require two-thirds approval in both the Senate and House, and approval from a majority of Maine voters.