On Monday, February 7, the Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) committee moved forward with an “ought to pass as amended” vote on LD 1639, An Act to Protect the Health and Welfare of Maine Communities and Reduce Harmful Solid Waste, which was introduced by Sen. Anne Carney (D-Cumberland). LD 1639 was a carryover piece of legislation from the First Session of the 130th Maine Legislature. The Maine State Chamber of Commerce testified in opposition to LD 1639 last year and continues to oppose this legislation.
If passed, LD 1639 could force the closure of a business, ReSource Lewiston. This would result in 70 lost jobs both at ReSource Lewiston and in the trucking industry. It would also result in $275,000 lost in taxes to the City of Lewiston and $400,000 to the Maine Solid Waste Fund. Even more concerning, this legislation would go back on an agreement reached during the 129th Legislature in 2019, which was LD 401, An Act To Preserve State Landfill Capacity and Promote Recycling. LD 1639 would undermine the bipartisan work that went into LD 401, which was passed and signed into law. Once LD 401 was passed, the investments of $1.5 million were made to upgrade its infrastructure and equipment, which would allow them to increase recycling rates to reach the goals set forward in LD 401, which would then be reviewed by the DEP in 2024.
The Maine State Chamber believes strongly that public policy that “moves the goal posts” on a business after an agreement was made is unfair and does not send a good signal to the business community in Maine. Ultimately, it could hurt future investments. Businesses depend on public policy that is reliable and consistent, and creating legislation that changes the agreement made two years prior is not reliable or consistent. While on face value, LD 1639 is dealing with changing laws around solid waste; in our opinion, this now has turned into an issue bigger than just solid waste. Companies that are looking to invest and create jobs in Maine are watching to see what happens on the policy front at the Maine Legislature. Passing LD 1639 would have a chilling effect on businesses both in Maine and those looking to invest here.
The Maine State Chamber believes the best path forward would be to stand by LD 401, let the investments made by ReSource Lewiston work, and allow the DEP to complete its review in a couple of years. We should be doing everything in our power to protect Maine jobs, and LD 1639 would be a job-killing piece of legislation. As this now moves to consideration to the full Legislature, we would encourage a vote against LD 1639. For additional information or questions, please contact Ben Lucas by calling (207) 623-4568, ext. 111, or by emailing email@example.com.