Environmental Policy & Land Use Articles in Maine Policy Review


Preparing for a Changing Climate: The State of Adaptation Planning in Maine’s Coastal Communities

Authors: Johnson, Eileen Sylvan; Stancioff, Esperanza; Johnson, Tora; Sabine, Sarena; Maurice, Haley; Reboussin, Claire

Maine Policy Review 28(2): 10-22

Climate change is having a range of impacts on Maine’s coastal communities, impacts that will be further exacerbated by increased coastal flooding, storm events, and a warming Gulf of Maine. To better understand the status of adaptation planning by Maine coastal communities, we conducted a survey and in-depth interviews with decision makers from coastal communities. We found that communities are addressing the effects of climate change and have moved towards specific implementation strategies. Adaptation planning to date includes incorporation of climate change impacts in comprehensive planning and addressing impacts on roads, culverts, and waterfront infrastructure. Respondents indicated the need for more specific data on the direct impacts of climate change in their communities over the next two years. They identified a preference for spatial data and interactive websites, followed by support from technical experts. Although the majority of respondents had an understanding of the physical vulnerabilities their communities face, they identified a need for increased resources to assess social vulnerability impacts. Additionally, communities face challenges in identifying appropriate funding sources that match identified needs. Adaptation planning processes are often stymied by the lack of dedicated funding that enables coastal communities to be proactive in addressing the physical and social impacts of climate change.


Maine’s Culture of Reuse and Its Potential to Advance Environmental and Economic Policy Objectives

Authors: Isenhour, Cindy; Crawley, Andrew; Berry, Brieanne; Bonnet, Jennifer

Maine Policy Review 26(1): 36-46

Policies designed to extend the lifetime of products—by encouraging reuse rather than disposal—are proliferating. Research suggests that reuse can ease pressure on natural resources and improve economic efficiency, all while preventing waste. In Maine, there are clear signs of a tradition of reuse that might be used to advance these goals. But beyond discrete observations, proverbs, and anecdotal stories, little data have been collected upon which to estimate the potential of Maine’s reuse economy. This paper draws upon findings generated during the first year of a five-year interdisciplinary, mixed-methods research project designed to explore the environmental, social, and economic dimensions of reuse in Maine. Our preliminary findings suggest that Maine does, indeed, have a vibrant but underestimated reuse economy. Less expected are findings that suggest reuse has promise to enhance economic resilience and contribute to culturally appropriate economic development.


Our Environment: A Glimpse at What Mainers Value

Authors:  Anderson, Mark W.; Noblet, Caroline; Teisl, Mario

Maine Policy Review 21(1): 104-110

Understanding environmental worldviews is impor­tant because values can play a strong part in defining and resolving policy debates. Mark Anderson, Caroline Noblet and Mario Teisl present analysis of a survey that included questions about Mainers’ environmental values. They note that people can value the environment in multiple ways at the same time, and that these values are not necessarily mutually exclusive. In the end, they say, “values matter” in environmental policy.


Economic Assessment of Children’s Health and the Environment in Maine

Authors:        Davis, Mary E.

Maine Policy Review 19(1): 36-44

Reducing children’s exposure to environmental toxins is important for both moral and economic reasons. Mary Davis discusses the economic impact of envi­ronmentally related childhood illnesses in Maine, focusing on disease categories with fairly strong evidence connecting environmental pollution to childhood diseases: lead poisoning, asthma, neurobehavioral disorders, and cancer. Lead poisoning and neurobehavioral conditions are the most expen­sive because they lead to chronic diseases that are largely incurable and not easily treated. She concludes that state funding for initiatives aimed at reducing childhood exposure to environmental pollutants “would be money well spent.”

Land Use Planning on a Grand Scale: A Decision Maker’s Perspective

Authors:        Harvey, E. Bart III

Maine Policy Review 19(1): 70-73

The author of this commentary, who served as a commissioner on the Maine Land Use Planning Commission (LURC) discusses the ground-breaking 400,000-acre concept plan by Plum Creek Corporation for development of the Moosehead Lake region in Maine. The highly-contested plan approved by LURC involves rezoning for hundreds of acres to allow for single family homes and resorts, and sets aside significant acreage in conservation.

Public Collaboration in Maine: When and Why It Works

Authors:        Kenty, Diane; Gosline, Ann R.; Reitman, Jonathan W.

Maine Policy Review 19     (2): 14-30

Government by itself cannot address all complex public policy issues. The authors write that “public collabo­ration” can alter the discourse on divisive local, regional, and state issues. Public collaboration is a process in which people from multiple sectors (government, business, nonprofit, civic, and tribal) work together to find solutions to problems that no single sector is able to resolve on its own. The authors describe the common features of effective public collaboration and provide detailed case studies and analysis of five recent examples of public collaboration in Maine.


Planners and Climate Change Action: An Approach for Communities

Authors:        Merrill, Samuel B.; Sanford, Robert M.; Lapping, Mark B.

Maine Policy Review 17(2): 149-152

The authors discuss the role of planners in helping local communities prepare for the near-term effects of climate change, especially the impact of rising sea levels and increased storm severity.


Forging a Common Vision for Maine’s North Woods

Authors:        Lilieholm, Robert J.

Maine Policy Review 16(2): 12-25

Robert Lilieholm takes stock of the challenges and opportunities facing Maine’s North Woods, the largest undeveloped forested block in the eastern United States. In the face of changing ownership patterns and development pressures, there is lively debate over current land use policies and trends. Lilieholm suggests that a broader, regional vision for the North Woods might better serve the long-term interests of both the area’s forests and its struggling communities.

Are the Economics of a Sustainable Maine Forest Sustainable?

Authors:        LeVert, Mike; Colgan, Charles S.; Lawton, Charles

Maine Policy Review 16(2): 26-36

Mike LeVert, Charles Colgan and Charles Lawton discuss the transformation of the economic environment of Maine’s forests over the past two decades. Paper companies have sold most of their holdings; residential and conservation demand for land has increased; forestland prices have skyrocketed; and new classes of landowners have different strategies, objectives, and time horizons than the old industrial landowners. The authors believe that management of Maine’s forests must now address changes in the economic environment with the same intensity as threats such as the spruce budworm were addressed if we are to keep Maine’s forests as forests.

Houses in the Woods: Lessons from the Plum Creek Concept Plan

Authors:        Bell, Kathleen

Maine Policy Review 16(2): 44-55

Residential growth pressures have arrived at the edge of Maine’s North Woods. Kathleen Bell in this article examines changes in the economics of rural land use in Maine. She notes that public debate over Plum Creek’s proposal for development in the Moosehead region reminds us that we need to increase our understanding of the interactions between residential growth pressures, changing landownership patterns, and new expectations for Maine’s forestlands

Alternative Large-Scale Conservation Visions for Northern Maine: Interviews with Decision Leaders in Maine

Authors:        Baldwin, Elizabeth Dennis; Kenefic, Laura S.; LaPage, Will F.

Maine Policy Review 16(2): 79-91

Based on confidential interviews with 21 decision leaders in Maine, Elizabeth Baldwin, Laura Kenefic, and Will LaPage examine the complexity of the conflicts over alternate visions for large-scale conservation in Maine. Exploring models that may be useful for policymakers grappling with competing values for Maine’s forests, they present four alternatives: national forests, new U.S. forest service models, forest heritage areas, and the British national park model. The authors found that the leaders interviewed agreed about the need for some level of conservation, but did not completely agree on how this might happen and where the decision-making power should lie.

LURC’s Challenge: Managing Growth in Maine’s Unorganized Territories

Authors:        Bley, Jerry

Maine Policy Review 16(2): 92-100

Maine’s Land Use Regulation commission (LURC) oversees an area covering roughly half the state. Plum Creek’s Moosehead Lake Concept Plan has brought LURC into the spotlight. Jerry Bley presents the history of this unique agency, the lands under its jurisdiction, how it has managed development, and what may lie ahead. In developing its Comprehensive Land Use Plan update, LURC needs to seek common ground for solutions that preserve the unique qualities of the area in its jurisdiction, while providing landowners opportunities to realize the financial values of their lands.

Wanted: A Maine Woods Dialogue

Authors:        Lapping, Mark B.

Maine Policy Review 16(2): 102-103

In his commentary on Jerry Bley’s article on the Maine Land Use Planning Commission (LURC), Mark Lapping discusses the need for serious dialogue about the future of the Maine North Woods. He believes that LURC’s mandate needs to be altered and enlarged

LURC and First Principles of Land Use Regulation

Authors:        Anderson, Mark

Maine Policy Review 16(2): 101-102

In this commentary, Mark W. Anderson notes that recognizing the strengths and limits inherent in what Maine’s Land Use Planning Commission (LURC) does can bring more realism to how various “publics” seek to accomplish their goals for the North Woods.

Ecotourism Potential in Maine’s North Woods: A Roundtable Commentary

Authors:        Czerwonka, Ann

Maine Policy Review 16(2): 121-125


Smart Growth, State Policy and Public Process in Maine: The Dunstan Crossing Experience

Authors:        Most, Sylvia; Merrill, Samuel B.; Kartez, Jack D.

Maine Policy Review 13(1): 12-26

Sprawling development in Maine’s growth areas continues in spite of the state’s emphasis on comprehensive planning over the past 20 years. In this article, the authors present some lessons to be learned from Scarborough’s Dunstan Crossing project, a planned development which would have incorporated many of the goals of the national “smart growth” movement. The project was approved by the elected town council (one of whom is co-author Sylvia Most), and it was in compliance with Scarborough’s town comprehensive plan. Nonetheless, the project for now has effectively been blocked after a lengthy period, described here, that saw a citizen referendum, lawsuits, mediation, and many kinds of public participation. Based on the Dunstan Crossing experience, the authors make recommendations regarding the state’s Growth Management Act, about more effective regional planning, and more generally about how to structure public participation in potentially contentious projects.


Easements and Conservation Policy in the North Maine Woods

Authors:        Lewis, David J.

Maine Policy Review 10(1): 24-36

Recently Maine has embarked on a new policy direction in its use of conservation easements to protect large tracts of commercial timberland. David Lewis argues that the effectiveness of using easements as a long-term conservation policy depends on many factors that may not be fully considered in the decision-making process currently used in choosing easements for landscape-scale conservation. Lewis indicates that the root of the problem lies in the fact that the state lacks a comprehensive policy describing the conservation goals desired in the North Woods. Before progressing further, Lewis suggests that the ultimate goals of conservation need to be understood clearly. Is conservation addressing development? Recreation needs? Biodiversity protection? Forest fragmentation? Moreover, what are the costs and benefits associated with the state’s various conservation options?


The Maine Shore and the Army Corps: A Tale of Two Harbors, Wells and Saco, Maine

Authors:        Kelley, Joseph; Anderson, Walter

Maine Policy Review 9(2): 20-34

By discussing the problems of beach erosion and sand movement at Wells and Saco, Maine, Joseph Kelley and Walter Anderson demonstrate how single-minded, engineering approaches to complex, interdisciplinary coastal issues can create bigger problems than previously existed. As Kelley and Anderson explain, at both Wells and Camp Ellis, the Army Corps of Engineers was brought in to construct a harbor at no local cost to the community. This was accomplished by constructing jetties, and the result has been a persistent and serious problem of beach erosion. Over the years, the Army Corps has offered further technical solutions that have served only to exacerbate the problem. In pointing out the shortcomings of these solutions, Kelley and Anderson call for new action requiring federal, state, and local involvement. To do nothing, they argue, is to absorb the costs of letting nature run its course.

The Opportunities and Threats of Coastal Development: An MPR Roundtable Discussion

Authors:        Anderson, Paul

Maine Policy Review 9(2): 36-50

In May 2000, nine discussants—each with a unique perspective on coastal development—convened to explore changes occurring on the Maine coast, whether those changes are consistent with what Maine people want, and what looming issues invite further debate and creative problem solving. Their discussion spanned a range of sensitive issues including aquaculture development, the displacement of traditional economies, the effects of development on coastal wildlife populations, and the reality of diminishing public access to the coast. All agreed that with vision and careful planning we have an opportunity to shape the future of the Maine coast, but the jury is out as to whose vision and whose planning will prevail.


Community Land Trusts: Permanently Affordable, Resident-Controlled Housing

Authors:        Stocking, Fred

Maine Policy Review 8(1): 50-57

Since 1997 Maine has enjoyed one of the highest levels of home ownership in the country. As Fred Stocking points out, homeownership contributes to community stability and provides a sense of security to families. Yet not all of Maine families are able to achieve their dream of homeownership. Community Land Trusts (CLTs) represent an attempt to build community and solve an affordable housing problem for Maine’s low-income residents. CLTs are non-profit organizations that require the joint involvement of residents and non-residents in the housing development and management, and resale price restrictions that keep the housing affordable indefinitely. In this article Stocking outlines the history of the Community Land Trusts in Maine and provides several examples of successful CLTs in communities such as Bangor, Augusta, and Isleboro. Stocking argues that CLTs make wise use of scarce housing subsidy dollars, encourage residents and community members to work together, and offer an alternative to reliance on broad-based programs administered by the federal government.


Why Sprawl is a Problem: Interview with Evan Richert

Authors:        Richert, Evan; Lachance, Laurie

Maine Policy Review 6(2): 44-49

A recent report of the Maine State Planning Office entitled “The Cost of Sprawl” (May 1997) begins with the observation…. “We are spreading out. Over the last 30 years, the fastest growing towns in Maine have been “new suburbs” 10 to 25 miles distant from metropolitan areas….These high growth communities have accounted for virtually all of the state’s population growth. From town square to the countryside, from Main Street to the mall, we are dispersing…. This outward movement has had unanticipated and unintended consequences….” Such consequences are the focus of this interview with Evan Richert, director of the Maine State Planning Office. Richert points out that sprawl has implications for Maine’s fiscal integrity, quality of environment, and character of communities. As policymakers continue to focus on reducing tax burden and promoting economic development, Richert points out that the issue of sprawl will need to be factored into our solutions. He calls for statewide dialogue and suggests pursuing economic incentives rather than a regulatory approach to curb this pattern of development. Richert also comments on the status of utility restructuring. He is joined by State Economist Laurie Lachance for this portion of the interview.


Electric Market Restructuring: Environmental Considerations

Authors:        Cohen, Armond

Maine Policy Review 4(1): 25-28

In the past few years,Maine’s electric utilities have begun to face the forces of competition.Maineis experiencing the effects of a national trend, a shift from a traditional and regulated system to a more innovative and competitive one. Armond Cohen explores the environmental impacts that are at stake in restructuring and offers some possible solutions. This article is taken from the author’s presentation at a December 1994 conference entitled ”Retail Wheeling,” sponsored by the Margaret Chase Smith Center for Public Policy’s Project for the Study of Regulation and the Environment.


Regulatory Updates: Maine Public Utilities Commission, Land Use Regulatory Commission

Authors:        Townsend, Ralph; Robinson, Ruth

Maine Policy Review 3(1): 69-75


Bridging the Gap Between Energy and the Environment

Authors:        Flumerfelt, John

Maine Policy Review 2(1): 30-42

Energy and environmental policies have always been intertwined, but the exact nature of those interrelationships is often difficult for the non-technical reader to understand. In an analysis that was originally included in an appendix of the Report of the Maine Commission on Comprehensive Energy Planning, the former director of Maine’s Office of Energy, John Flumerfelt, provides a clear and concise graphical summary of the relation between energy use and air pollution in Maine. His presentation frames the issues in ways that identify important energy and environmental questions for the state.

Regulatory Updates

Authors:        Townsend, Ralph; Robinson, Ruth

Maine Policy Review 2(3): 105-110


A Public Health View of Environmental Regulation

Authors:        Graham, John

Maine Policy Review 1(2): 34-38

The laws and regulations that govern the use of environmental resources have complicated effects on our society and our economy. Efforts to regulate environmental impacts are frequently controversial precisely because they have such complicated effects. No single perspective can adequately encompass all of the issues that arise in environmental regulation and environmental protection. Even the terms themselves suggest the fundamentally opposed philosophies that approach the assessment of environmental laws: While proponents of greater environmental activism emphasize the need to “protect” the environment, critics of more stringent controls emphasize that these laws “regulate” and limit the actions of individuals. At the PURE ’92 conference, speakers with different perspectives were invited to share their views of the important issues in environmental protection and environmental regulation. Dr. John Graham provides a perspective from the point of view of public health, looking at the health risks and costs of pollution.

The Northern Forest Lands Council: Seeking Consensus

Authors:        Spruce, Christopher

Maine Policy Review 1(3): 51-55

Conference Reports: The First Munsungan Conference: Paying to Play in the Maine Woods

Authors:        Spruce, Christopher

Maine Policy Review 1(3): 56-58

Conference Reports: ECO/ECO Pushes Comparative Risk Project Forward

Authors:        Spruce, Christopher

Maine Policy Review 1(2): 87-89


Challenges for the North Maine Woods

Authors:        Irland, Lloyd C.

Maine Policy Review 1(1): 71-82

Lloyd Irland discusses the rapid changes in the value of Maine’s forests as perceived by the public, the threats to those values, the policy tools for managing those conflicts, and the ways of paying for forest benefits. He notes that regulation is destined to lay a larger role in the policy mix for these new forest values.

Upcoming at the Regulatory Commissions

Authors:        Wood, Linda; Townsend, Ralph

Maine Policy Review 1(1): 151-156