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New Dredging Legislation Needed
AUGUSTA - Rep. Hannah Pingree (D-North Haven) will present a bill Friday that aims to better align state and federal laws regulating the dumping standards and dredging requirements in Maine waters.
Pingree sponsored the bill in hopes the legislation will raise awareness on the complexities of dredge dumping laws that create financial incentives for bringing dredge material from around the state to the Penobscot Bay Ocean Disposal site, located off Rockland.
The issue arose recently when a dredging project in Portland Harbor legally avoided biological testing for disposing of the material in Portland, and instead, transported the spoils to the local disposal site off the coast of Rockland.
"I received many phone calls from upset fisherman from the islands over the dumping of Portland Harbor dredge material in Penobscot Bay," said Pingree. "They have the right to be upset. The more I learned about the dumping of dredge materials in Maine, the more I learned that this is an incredibly complex issue with few easy solutions."
State and federal laws have jurisdiction over dredging projects, depending on the location of the work and the testing performed on the material. Some of the tests required to dump material at the Portland site are cost-prohibitive, making dumping at the state's other two sites less expensive.
"For a long time, folks have avoided dealing with this issue," Pingree said. "My hope is that all interested parties, from the fishing community to the Army Corp of Engineers and Department of Environmental Protection will come together to craft a reasonable solution."
Those interested in the legislation are welcome to attend the public hearing at 9 a.m. on Friday, April 29 in the Natural Resources Committee, room 214, in the Cross State Office Building in Augusta.
For further information, contact:
Rep. Hannah Pingree, 691-5071
Amy Watson, Legislative Aide, 287-1430
Kaylene Waindle, Communication Director, 287-1433
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