As a teacher, I understand the value of establishing clear assessment criteria to measure a college student’s competency as they prepare for teacher certification. As a Registered Maine Guide, I understand the need to demonstrate skills to ensure safety of my clients while whitewater rafting or on recreation trips in the wilderness.
What I don’t understand is why Maine’s Bureau of Parks and Lands does not have a process or specified rules to determine if a project meets “substantially altered” criteria. This puts the protection of public lands in Maine in jeopardy. In 1993, 72% of Mainers voted to protect Maine’s public lands by amending the Maine Constitution requiring a 2/3 Legislative vote for sales or leases that substantially reduce or alter the value of land held in public trust. Recent examples of non-compliance were revealed when two administrations in a row issued leases to CMP without the constitutionally-required Legislative vote.
The concept of altering public lands extends beyond one single project. I encourage you to ask the Legislature to support LD1075: An Act to Protect Public Lands to require the Bureau develop and evaluate project requests in accordance with an objective set of specified criteria and defining what substantially altered truly means as it relates to protecting public lands.
Public lands belong to the people of Maine. Mainers need to be able to rely on transparent processes, predictable measurements, and that the Maine Constitution is being followed by state government’s leaders and agencies, regardless of who is in power.