Ivy Frignoca, on behalf of Friends of Casco Bay, worked closely with Nick Bennett of the Natural Resources Council of Maine, to explain to members of the Maine Legislature why three previous attempts to weaken Maine’s Oil Discharge Prevention and Pollution Control law had failed, for good reason. This year’s bill initially proposed to exempt individuals and companies from reporting spills of 10 gallons or less, which constitute about 75% of all oil spills in Casco Bay. Further, it would have eliminated the ability of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to levy fines or penalties for those spills.
The Environment and Natural Resources Committee initially voted 8-5 in favor of the bill. As the bill then underwent a series of amendments, Ivy met with many legislators to explain its various defects. She helped make the bill an “Environmental Priority” of the Environmental Priorities Coalition, a group of 31 environmental and public health organizations representing 100,000 members. A few weeks later, the Environment and Natural Resources Committee took a second vote, and the bill was defeated!
“We are so happy with the result,” said Ivy. “The existing law rewards good behavior. People who voluntarily report a spill are exempt from any fines and penalties. A simple phone call to the DEP ensures that trained responders can clean up spills quickly using proper equipment and procedures. In addition, DEP maintains maps of locations of spills and uses that information to protect sensitive areas.”