Apr 14, 2005

ME apprpriations Committee approves the Stockton Harbor/Coastal Trust Fund bill

Maine state representative Jeff Kaelin's bill LD 1234 to "Re-create the Maine Coast Environmental Trust Fund and re-fund it to pay for the Stockton Harbor study" has passed unanimously. Committee members were "pretty offended by the "looting" of the Stockton Harbor money," according to one who attended the meeting. the money vanished from a state account more than two years ago.

Read the bill:
http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/LD.asp?LD=1234

Details about the Stockton Harbor pollution issue are at http://www.penbay.org/gacalum.html

Committee of Reference: Appropriations and Financial Affairs, Tue Mar 15, 2005Public

TEXT OF LD 1234
SUMMARY "This bill reestablishes the Maine Coast Environmental Trust Fund in the Department of Marine Resources. The purpose of the trust fund is to protect and improve the quality of the State's marine environment by providing grants to qualifying organizations. This bill requires the department to develop a competitive grant program, including qualifications and application procedures, and report back to the Second Regular Session of the 122nd Legislature with the department's recommendations.

The bill also appropriates start-up funds to the trust fund and funds to be used to restore the clam flats in Stockton Harbor."


Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:

Sec. 1. 12 MRSA §6136 is enacted to read:

§6136. Maine Coast Environmental Trust Fund
1. Creation of trust fund. There is established the Maine Coast Environmental Trust Fund, referred to in this section as "the trust."

2. Purpose of trust. The purpose of the trust is to protect and improve the quality of the State's marine environment by providing grants to qualifying organizations for activities to advance scientific research concerning the nature, magnitude and effect of pollution of the State's estuarine, near-shore and off-shore marine environments and the means to abate pollution or preserve and enhance estuarine, near-shore and off-shore marine habitats.

3. Sources for trust. Money obtained from the following sources must be paid to the Treasurer of State for the benefit of the trust:

A. Gifts, bequests and donations to the trust from private individuals or corporations desiring to protect and improve the marine environment through applied research;

B. Grants to the trust from private or public foundations desiring to protect and improve the marine environment through applied and basic research;

C. Funds stipulated for deposit in the trust as part of the terms of settlement of legal actions against corporations, partnerships or individuals for violations of environmental laws, rules or regulations;

D. Funds for research received under any federal oil spill trust fund;
E. Revenues that may be from time to time realized through public bond issues; and
F. Federal grants and loans.

4. Use and administration of trust. Trust funds must be used to provide grants to meet the purposes of this section. The department shall administer the trust as follows.

A. Unless otherwise specified by the source of a contribution to the trust, 50% of a contribution to the trust must be deposited in a principal account and maintained as a permanent endowment. The income earned on funds held in this account, combined with the remaining 50% of funds contributed to the trust, must be deposited in an operating account and made available for disbursement as grants to accomplish the purposes of this section and as expenditures for purposes of administering the trust.

B. An executive agency is not eligible to receive funding from the trust unless the agency jointly undertakes a research proposal with another entity that is not an executive agency.

C. The department shall give preference to institutions, organizations and entities located and operated in the State.

D. Principal, or interest earned from principal, with special instructions from contributors must be awarded in accordance with the contributors' instructions.

E. All money in the trust not immediately required for payment, pursuant to the provisions of this section, must be invested by the Treasurer of State as authorized by Title 5, section 138, except that the securities in which the trust money is invested must remain part of the trust until exchanged for other securities and the income from all investments must remain a part of the trust unless prohibited by federal law.

5. Report, amendment and termination of trust. The department shall file a report as follows.

A. The department shall report to the Legislature on a biennial basis concerning the activities of the trust.

B. In the event the department determines that the provisions of the trust should be amended, the department shall make appropriate recommendations to the Legislature in its biennial report.

C. The department may recommend in its biennial report that the trust be terminated if termination is determined to be appropriate. In the event that the Legislature terminates the trust, the principal and operating funds must be disbursed in a manner consistent with the purpose of the trust.

Sec. 2. Development of competitive grant program; report. The Department of Marine Resources shall develop a competitive grant program, including qualifications and application procedures, for the improvement and protection of the State's marine environment pursuant to the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 12, section 6136. The department shall report by January 15, 2006 to the Second Regular Session of the 122nd Legislature with its recommendations and any necessary implementing legislation.

Sec. 3. Appropriations and allocations. The following appropriations and allocations are made.

Maine Coast Environmental Trust Fund Initiative: Provides funds to reestablish a competitive grant program and to restore the clam flats in Stockton Harbor.

GENERAL FUND 2005-06 2006-07

All Other $52,300 $0

__________ __________

GENERAL FUND TOTAL $52,300 $0

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