From left: Jared Golden, Susan Collins, Angus King and Chellie Pingree. Credit: Composite / BDN

BANGOR, Maine — New federal rules about forest protection could hold back conservation efforts in Maine, the state’s congressional delegation said.

Maine is the most forested state in the nation. The delegation members said they have concerns about proposed guidelines that set an upper threshold of 45,000 acres for landowners to receive Natural Resources Conservation Service funding.

The new guidelines would regulate what constitutes nonindustrial private forest land. That’s significant because it means entities that previously used Natural Resources Conservation money might become ineligible for the funding, the delegation said.

Sens. Susan Collins (R) and Angus King (I) and Democratic Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden said the loss of conservation funding would also hurt the state’s logging and forest economy because logging companies perform maintenance and conservation work that is made possible by Natural Resources Conservation Serving money.