Maine Congress of Lake Associations Legislative Testimony 2013
Legislative Testimony given by Maggie Shannon, ED, on behalf of Maine COLA, on June 12, 2013 as it regards
LD 1455: An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Ensure Clean Water and Safe Communities
Good afternoon, Senator Hill, Representative Rotundo, and distinguished members of the Joint Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee. My name is Maggie Shannon. I am the Executive Director of the Maine Congress of Lake Associations (Maine COLA), the only statewide nonprofit membership organization dedicated to conserving the value and benefits of Maine lakes, ponds and watersheds. Our membership comprises more than 15,000 people as individuals and members of 130 active lake and watershed improvement associations.
I am here today on behalf of our members and in the interest of all Maine citizens -- to whom the great ponds belong -- to speak in favor of LD 1455 because its cost-effective investments will
1. Strengthen Maine’s long-term economic base and competitive advantage;
2. Protect the resource base on which Maine’s #1 industry, tourism, is based
3. Ensure sufficient, high quality drinking water;
4. Lessen the chance of water-borne illness;
5. Enable communities to better prepare for extreme weather events;
6. Conserve vital habitat for fisheries, waterfowl, wading birds, and other wildlife;
7. Avoid the extreme costs of water quality remediation;
8. Create and preserve jobs in construction, tourism, fisheries, sales, marketing, environmental engineering, and more;
9. Lessen the need for future infrastructure investment.
The last point, minimizing significant, long-term grey infrastructure costs is particularly significant. Lessons learned across the United States by the cities and towns that have invested in green infrastructure to manage stormwater show long-term fiscal savings for these jurisdictions. In addition, green or natural infrastructure improvements provide the bonus of numerous economic and community benefits. Quality of life, stable property values, healthy aquatic habitats, jobs and recreational opportunities are just a few of the gains green infrastructure yields as it protects Maine’s high quality lakes, streams, rivers, bays and estuaries.
The payoff for maintaining manmade or grey water management systems environment is obvious. A failed culvert, road washout, or combined sewer overflow (CSS) is hard to miss. The benefits of green infrastructure are less familiar. Banking on Green: A Look at How Green Infrastructure Can Save Municipalities Money and Provide Economic Benefits Community-wide is a joint report by American Rivers, The Water Environment Federation, the American Society of Landscape Architects and ECONorthwest that catalogues and documents the savings reaped by US cities and towns that have invested in complementary green and grey infrastructure projects. We urge Committee members to read this accessible research: http://www.americanrivers.org/assets/pdfs/reports-and-publications/banking-on-green-report.pdf Here is a stunning local example: in the entire US, there are only 20 public water supplies that don’t require filtration; 10 of them are in Maine. The cost of building, maintaining and running a water treatment plant runs well into millions of public dollars. Support this bill to protect what we have.
Clean, safe water is essential to life. We urge you to think to the future and vote, “Ought to Pass” on LD 1455. It just might be the most important vote you cast in this or any legislature.
Thank you for this opportunity to speak to you today.