Why I will vote for the LMF bond
Maine’s economy and environment are inextricably linked. Our working waterfronts and forests, farmland, and state park system create jobs and support our way of life. I want to make sure Maine continues to benefit from our natural resources and conserved lands for years to come. When the Legislature reconvenes Monday, I will be voting to approve the Land for Maine’s Future bond.
Last year, I served on a broad, bipartisan Land Conservation Task Force alongside Mainers from all across the political spectrum, including environmental advocates, outdoor sporting groups and members of the business community. We held public meetings and looked at land conservation efforts over the past 30 years. We found that Land for Maine’s Future works. It protects our natural resources, benefits our fishermen, farmers and resource-based industries, and brings in significant tourist dollars.
Land for Maine’s Future gives Maine a great return on investment. Money from the program usually represents just 10-20 percent of total funding for conservation projects, but helps leverage private donations. Most importantly, Maine families and communities like it.
If we want to continue to reap the benefits of Maine’s rich natural landscape, we need to invest in efforts to conserve, protect and promote these areas. Land for Maine’s Future does this important work, but it has gone years without consistent, reliable funding. This bond is a strong step in the right direction. Supporting Land for Maine’s Future is the right thing to do for our economy, our environment and future generations. I will proudly vote to send this bond to Maine voters, and I hope my fellow lawmakers will do the same.
Sen. Cathy Breen
Cruise ship noise pollution
I am concerned about the noise pollution created by large cruise ships in Frenchman Bay. I often hear the PA announcements at my house, which is located about a half mile from the shore.
Downtown Bar Harbor is not the only place impacted by cruise ship noise. When I was hiking up the South Ridge of Dorr Mountain in Acadia on Aug. 14, I could hear dance music. It was so loud that I could recognize several of the songs. When I reached the summit of the mountain, I was able to see the cruise ship out in the bay and it was in the process of leaving Bar Harbor. As the ship moved out to open ocean, the music slowly faded away.
There is absolutely no excuse for cruise ship noise pollution in Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. In other cruise destinations around the globe, communities have taken steps to protect citizens from noise pollution. They regulate the use of cruise ship PA systems and loud music while the ships are in port. It is time that the town officials put an end to this noise pollution.
Maine’s broadband connectivity
OTELCO has been providing rural phone service in Maine for more than 100 years. Our history is rooted in rural farmers taking infrastructure into their own hands at a time when phone lines were necessary, but lacking. Today’s challenge is delivering fast reliable internet access to those same rural communities.
We are building Fiber to the Premise in our rural footprints as quickly as resources allow. Meanwhile, just like those farmers, forward-thinking municipalities are seeking ways to expedite the construction of fiber broadband. OTELCO is working with three communities in Penobscot County to develop collaborative funding models to help them get the connectivity infrastructure they need. In Alton, it took collaboration between the Town, OTELCO and the ConnectME Authority to fund the $700,000 FTTP project that will serve everyone in town.
Gov. Janet Mills has asked the legislature to return for a special session Aug. 26 to address her revised bond package, which includes $15 million for broadband infrastructure to be administered by the ConnectME Authority. With collaborative efforts like Alton, that $15 million could be quadrupled with matching municipal and private funds. That could build thousands of miles of FTTP in unserved areas of Maine.
Reliable access to broadband is critical to Maine’s economic future. Education, workforce development, aging in place and local economies need broadband infrastructure as much as they need safe roads or electricity.
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