The Conservation and Reinvestment Act of 2000 (CARA, HR 701) was passed by the House with a vote of 315-102 in May of this year. It has yet to pass through the Senate. If passed, this Act will permanently seal about half of the $4-5 billion dollar revenue generated from oil and gas leases for state conservation efforts. This would benefit Maine by providing them with $35-40 million per year to be directly applied to conservation projects. Do you support CARA as a means of funding much needed environmental conservation projects within the state?

If passed CARA will create a permanent funding source for wildlife preservation, recreation, coastal conservation, historic preservation and other conservation programs. CARA was received in the Senate and read twice before being referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, where it remains presently. The money generated from the leases currently is not directed to any area in particular, but rather pilfered away to miscellaneous government expenditures. The passage of this act would be of immeasurable value to not only Maine, but to all states in the nation. The Land and Water Conservation Fund would be particularly beneficial to the state of Maine, providing much needed dollars to clean up rivers, protecting them from pollution, restoring fisheries, creating parks, etc.

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Air Quality

Vehicle emissions are the largest in-state air pollutant in the state of Maine. Such pollutants can be reduced through increasing emissions standards, encouraging carpooling, and increasing the mass transit system. If you are elected, what actions will you take to ensure that our air is clean and safe to breathe?

Car and truck emissions are responsible for 90% of carbon monoxide (CO) emissions, 56% of NOx emissions, and 49% of VOC emissions in Maine. A reduction in auto emissions will significantly improve the quality of the stateís air. The average age of cars in Maine (10 to 13 years) is higher than the national average, which also causes emissions problems. Prior to 1994, emissions standards were significantly less controlled and older cars produce a higher level of pollutants. Correlated to this, stationary sources (power plants, mills, factories) are responsible for another 37% of NOx and 12% of VOC emissions. Clearly cleaning up industrial sites will also have dramatic effects on air quality.

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Rivers and Dams

The Atlantic salmon formerly thrived in many of Maine's rivers, but is now on the brink of extinction due to impaired spawning ability caused by dams. Would you favor denying renewal permits to antiquated dams whose detrimental impact on the river is greater than its marginal electrical contribution?

Recently the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission declined to renew the operating permit for the Edwards Dam on Maine's Kennebec River because its environmental harm was greater than its electrical output. In the summer of 1999 the dam was breached and striped bass and other fish returned to areas of the river where they hadn't been in decades. Many dams in the state are antiquated and provide no real contribution, but have a negative effect on associated river life. By breaching additional antiquated dams, the salmon population, as well as other river life, will be able to thrive once again in Maine's rivers.

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