Dill introduces bill to help restore health of Penobscot River

Posted: March 20, 2019 | Environment and Natural Resources, Senator Dill

AUGUSTA — Sen. Jim Dill, D-Old Town, has introduced a bill that would help restore the Penobscot River. LD 817, “An Act To Advance the Restoration of the Penobscot River,” received a public hearing before the Legislature’s Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources on Thursday, March 14.

“The Penobscot River’s role in this part of the world is critical, as it has been since the glaciers retreated 10,000 years ago. It is a center for fishing, travel, industry and importantly, is of great cultural significance to the Penobscot Nation,” said Sen. Dill. “Unfortunately, industrial activities on the river over the past few centuries have contributed to a decline in water quality and the abundance of natural resources in the Penobscot.”

LD 817 extends north protections currently provided to the lower Penobscot River. It requires the Department of Marine Resources, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Department of Environmental Protection, in consultation with the Penobscot Nation and interested federal agencies, to conduct a comprehensive assessment of fish passage barriers, water quality and habitat conditions affecting the full restoration of fisheries within the Penobscot River watershed. Those groups would then report to the Legislature’s Committees on Marine Resources, Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and Environment and Natural Resources. The committees would be authorized to make recommendations for related legislation.

The bill faces further action in the committee and votes before the Maine House and Senate.