Maine Proposal for a Compact for Maine's Forests, Question 2B (1996)

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Maine Question 2B, also known as the Resolution Proposing a Competing Measure under the Constitution of Maine to Implement the Compact for Maine's Forests, was on the November 5, 1996 election ballot in Maine. It passed.

Election results

Number of Votes: 282,620 with 47.4% of the Vote.

Text of measure

The language that appeared on the ballot:

[Note: must be approved again at the next statewide election] [Note: This referendum requires the voters to choose among a proposed law initiated by petition (2A), a competing measure approved by the Legislature for submittal to the voters (2B), or to reject both (2C).]

This resolution, approved by the Legislature for submittal to the voters as a competing measure to the citizen initiative described above, would direct the Commissioner of Conservation to adopt statewide rules governing timber harvesting in Maine and would establish a voluntary audit program, whereby landowners would attempt to achieve certain benchmarks of forest sustainability and biodiversity on their lands, thereby potentially qualifying for an exemption from the Commissioner's rules. The rules would be provisionally adopted by the Commissioner by May 1, 1997 and subsequently reviewed by the Legislature.

The resolution also would require landowners to get a permit by rule from the Commissioner before doing any clearcutting. To get a permit, a landowner would have to certify that the clearcutting was justified by sound forestry management practices. There would be certain exemptions to this permit requirement. Clearcutting with a permit would be subject to certain limits on size, nearness to other clearcuts and total area for each ownership. The Commissioner would also be required to adopt rules regarding forest regeneration after a timber harvest. The resolution also would permit municipalities to adopt timber harvesting ordinances that are stricter than the State's rules. Municipalities would be subject to certain limits on their actions and would be required to notify landowners and the Commissioner before adopting ordinances stricter than the State's rules.

In addition, the resolution would provide for the establishment of an ecological forest reserve system for the protection of certain state-owned lands from timber harvesting. It would also direct the Governor, by April 1, 1997, upon receipt of a report from the Maine Forest Service, to submit to the Legislature a proposal to restrict excessive timber harvesting on lands held for less than 10 years. Finally, the resolution would direct the Maine Forest Service to provide for increased environmental education on forestry issues for the general public.

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