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Angus King on Environment

Independent Former ME Governor


River "amenities" have enormous economic & cultural value

San Antonio's special character flows (couldn't resist) from the river that meanders through its heart. It's a perfect example of how something the planner-types call "an amenity" (and hard-nosed but short-sighted businesspeople sometimes call a frill) can have enormous economic, social, and cultural consequences. Texas as a whole takes in about $6 billion a year on tourism; San Antonio alone represents $4 billion of that total. And the River Walk, along with the Alamo, is what makes it happen.
Source: Governor`s Travels, by Gov. Angus King, p. 56-57 , Aug 16, 2011

National parks are tax money well spent

A word is in order about our national parks. They're great--well maintained, impressive (each in its own way), and most particularly, staffed by courteous & dedicated people. From Kitty Hawk to Fort Sumter to Big Bend, we found really nice people who were passionate about "their" place and who made us feel welcomed and valued as guests. People are always complaining about taxes, but whatever goes to these magnificent places is money well spent. We still don't need one in northern Maine, though.
Source: Governor`s Travels, by Gov. Angus King, p. 70 , Aug 16, 2011

Two Maines: inexorable decline of rural areas

In Maine, one of our most persistent problems--dating back at least 100 years--is what we call the Two Maines: the more prosperous and economically diverse southern part of the state, centered on Portland and its proximity to Boston, and the northern and eastern parts, whose economies have always been based on natural resources--farming, fishing, and forestry--all of which seem to be in a perpetual state of gradual decline. Generations of leaders--governors, legislators, mayors, local citizens--have worked on this, trying everything from special tax incentives, infrastructure improvements, and educational centers to regional industrial parks and development authorities. In fact, I spent the better part of my second term trying to slow, if not reverse, this seemingly inexorable trend.
Source: Governor`s Travels, by Gov. Angus King, p.102 , Aug 16, 2011

Get cars out of the more crowded national parks

Tour buses, lines at the store, endless circling for a parking place. To its credit, the Park Service is wrestling with this issue on an ongoing basis and clearly understands the conflict inherent in its basic charge--to make America's natural wonders accessible while at the same time preserving and protecting them for future generations. There's no easy answer to this one, but some steps seem pretty obvious, like getting the cars out of at least some of the parks altogether and using shuttle buses or some other alternative. It seems to me that something like this has to come--at least to the more crowded parks--in the pretty near future.
Source: Governor`s Travels, by Gov. Angus King, p.116-117 , Aug 16, 2011

Maine is clean & getting cleaner

Source: 2001 State of the State address to the Me. legislature , Jan 24, 2001

Promote Smart Growth via tax breaks

The Smart Growth initiatives include promoting investments in our downtowns and service center communities, and helping communities restore traditional neighborhoods. It also includes preserving our open rural spaces and promoting agriculture by reducing penalties on farmland under the Farm and Open Space Tax Act, eliminating the sales tax on electricity use in agriculture and aquaculture, and strengthening our Right to Farm law. I strongly support this package, and will work hard to implement it.
Source: 2001 State of the State address to the Me. legislature , Jan 24, 2001

Voted YES on protecting ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems.

Whitehouse Amdt. No. 803 to S.Amdt. 799 to S. 601 (Water Resources Development Act of 2013): To create the National Endowment for the Oceans to promote the protection and conservation of United States ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems.

Proponent's Argument for voting Yes: Mr. WHITEHOUSE: This measure was part of the RESTORE Act, [but] this piece of it fell out of the bargain. If you supported the RESTORE Act, you have already supported this bill. If you believe that deals should be deals in the Senate, then you should support this bill. It is very important that we as a body support this bill. It does not create a single extra bureaucracy or person. It works within the existing government, and it adds no funding.

MississippiRiverDelta.org Summary of RESTORE Act: The Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act (RESTORE Act) dedicates 80% of all Clean Water Act penalties paid by those responsible for the 2010 gulf oil disaster to Gulf Coast restoration.

Proponent's press release supporting Yes vote: The National Endowment for the Oceans, Coasts, and Great Lakes Act would provide steady funding that universities, non-profit organizations, and government agencies can count on every year to support research and restoration projects. It would be funded primarily by dedicating 12.5% of revenues from offshore energy development, including oil, gas, and renewable energy. Revenue is generated through offshore lease sales and production based royalty payments. Funds from the Endowment would be distributed through a competitive grant program to fund projects to restore habitat, manage fisheries, plan for sustainable coastal development, enhance ocean monitoring and research activities, acquire coastal properties for preservation, and relocate critical coastal infrastructure.

King says, "King (I-ME)"

Reference: National Endowment for the Oceans; Bill S.Amdt. 803 ; vote number 13-SV116 on May 8, 2013

Eliminate mercury releases by 2003.

King signed the New England Governors' Conference resolution:

Source: NEG/ECP Resolution 25-1: Mercury 00-NEGC1 on Sep 22, 2000

More state autonomy on brownfields & Superfund cleanups.

King adopted the National Governors Association position paper:

The Issue

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), otherwise known as Superfund, was created to clean up the worst hazardous waste sites across the country and to recoup expenses from responsible parties. Since the law was enacted in 1980, the Superfund program has caused significant amounts of litigation, while cleanup of hazardous waste sites has not been as fast or effective as the statute envisioned. In addition, states have not had the necessary tools or funding from the federal government to adequately clean up state sites. “Brownfields” sites—abandoned or undeveloped non-Superfund industrial or commercial sites under state jurisdiction—have gained increasing attention from Congress in recent years as passage of a comprehensive Superfund package has become increasingly unlikely.

NGA’s Position

NGA supports the reauthorization of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980. NGA policy calls for more opportunities for states to take authority for cleanup of National Priorities List (NPL) sites, increased autonomy and funding over brownfield sites, and the concurrence of a Governor before a site can be listed on the NPL.
Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA15 on Aug 1, 2001

Support State Revolving Loan Fund for flexible Clean Water.

King adopted the National Governors Association position paper:

The Issue

The Clean Water Act (CWA) has not been reauthorized since 1987. At that time, provisions were added to address nonpoint source pollution, pollution from diffuse sources such as runoff of fertilizers and pesticides, stormwater runoff, and sediment. Governors and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) disagree on the best approach to addressing the problem of nonpoint source pollution.

NGA’s Position

NGA supports the reauthorization of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972 (the Clean Water Act). The Governors support an increased focus on watershed management planning, including funding for the State Revolving Loan Fund (SRF) and nonpoint source pollution programs. States should have the flexibility to develop plans for attaining federally approved water quality standards in impaired waters - in consultation with local government officials and stakeholders - and to allocate responsibility for cleanup among contributors. The TMDL regulations should be revised, by legislation if necessary, to give states adequate flexibility, funding, and time to address impaired waters.
Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA9 on Aug 1, 2001

No EPA permits required for forest road runoff.

King co-sponsored Silviculture Regulatory Consistency Act

Congressional Summary:Amends the Clean Water Act to prohibit the EPA from requiring permits for a discharge of stormwater runoff resulting from silviculture activities.

Opponent's argument against bill: (Evergreen Magazine and Washington Forest Law Center): In Aug. 2010, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that polluted stormwater generated by logging roads is subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act. [The ruling meant] that rain runoff from forest roads constituted an industrial (not forestry) activity, which should be considered a "point source" discharge under the CWA. The lawsuit was brought because forest roads have been dumping sediment into rivers that support myriad species of salmon and resident trout, all of which are at risk from the pollution. The ruling will require State agencies to issue permits and ensure that road construction and maintenance practices limit or eliminate such discharges.

In March 2013, the US Supreme Court reversed the Ninth Circuit: permits are not required for stormwater discharges from pipes, ditches and channels along logging roads. [This legislation supports the Supreme Court ruling, against the Ninth Circuit conclusion].

Proponent's argument for bill: (Press release by sponsors):

Sen. WYDEN (D-OR): "We need a healthy timber industry to provide timber jobs and to do the restoration work that ensures healthy forests. The way to do that is to stop litigating questions that have already been answered."

Sen. CRAPO (R-ID): "The jobs and economic activities relating to the forest products industry are critical to the Pacific Northwest. The Clean Water Act was not intended to regulate stormwater runoff on forest roads."

Rep. HERRERA BEUTLER (R-WA): "At the heart of our efforts are the moms and dads employed by healthy, working forests--and passing this law will help make sure they have jobs, and will help make our forests healthy."

Source: S.971 / H.R.2026 13-S0971 on May 16, 2013

Other candidates on Environment: Angus King on other issues:
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Eliot Cutler
Michael Michaud
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Susan Collins

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Page last updated: Aug 04, 2014