PREPARING FOR RISING SEA LEVEL BILL GETS GO AHEAD FROM STATE SENATE
AUGUSTA – A bill to encourage coastal municipalities to study and prepare for the effects of rising sea level received support today in the Maine Senate.
The bill, LD 408, “An Act to Help Municipalities Prepare for Changes in Sea Level,” sponsored by Democratic Representative Lydia Blume of York, would allow a coastal municipality or multimunicipal region to include projections regarding sea level change and its impacts in its comprehensive plan. It would also allow for a municipality to develop a coordinated plan for addressing impacts of changes in sea level.
“As a former Town Councilor of a coastal community, I understand the value of Maine’s coastline, with its appeal to residents, attraction to visitors, and its economic significance,” said Democratic Senator Cathy Breen of Falmouth. “We know the sea level is rising, and it is prudent that we begin planning and preparing at the local level for this potentially devastating effect.”
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), tide gauges show that global sea level has risen about seven inches during the 20th century, and recent satellite data show that the rate of sea-level rise is accelerating.
“It’s clear that we as a state need to plan for our future,” said Senate Democratic Leader Justin Alfond of Portland. “It’s pretty simple. We must look forward.”
The state’s geologist, Robert Marvinney, stated in his public testimony that the highest sea levels recorded in the past few years are unprecedented in Maine.
“A rising sea level is an economic development issue for Maine,” said Senator Democratic Senator Dave Miramant of Camden. “It is only a matter of time before properties will be required to have flood insurance, land will become undevelopable, and so on. We have a responsibility to the people of this state to start the discussion now on the many negative aspects of this threatening issue.”
The vote in the Senate follows support from the House a few weeks ago. The bill will now go back to the House for enactment.