Mar 12, 2015

LePage admin opposes state ocean acidification council bill.

 Maine DMR & DEP both submitted testimony to the Legislature's Marine Resources Committee at its March 11 2015 public hearing,  opposing LD 493 An Act To Create the Ocean Acidification Council

DMR's Commissioner read a statement prepared by his Marine Policy Director Dierdre Gilbert suggesting that academic institutions and NGOs  are the proper home of such a council, not state government.

DEP's Patty Aho complained in her letter that passage of the  bill would  require  "significant Departmental resources and time which will take away from other important environmental programs."  

Gilbert  wrote that  "...the Department appreciates and supports the work that was done by the Ocean Acidification Commission. Certainly there are many good recommendations resulting from their efforts that should be pursued."

However, she added:  "[T]he structure proposed  - a new Council  - is not the most appropriate vehicle to carry these recommendations forward.  There are several entities, including the University, and multiple NGO's, that have made this topic a focus of their work."

Maine Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Patty Aho said her agency  "utilized approximately 200 hours of staff time to support the legislative Ocean Acidification Commission from August through December 2014."

"Without additional funding or resources," she said, "enactment of LD 493 will put a significant burden on the Department for managing existing programs while participating in this Council."

Representatives  at the public hearing of  that "coalition of groups with an interest in this topic"  and others with a jaundiced view of  the Lepage Admin's skill at "managing existing programs "  frowned severely when they  heard that.


Richard Nelson said...

I fully realize that there may be budgetary restraints on the state agencies involved, but it's difficult to listen to these complaints when you served on the same committee as an individual sans salary or budgetary funding for your business. Both myself, as a fisherman, and the agencies have ample reasons to do this work.

Ron Huber said...

So what do you think is happening here? Why are DEP and DMR opposing this? Just claiming cost isn't really enough. As I told the committee I only wanted the word "may" to turn into "shall" when it comes to the Council's duties to inform the legislature and agency decisionmakers when acidification is of importance.