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Your Voice is Needed! Rising seas in Casco Bay

Casco Bay needs your voice!

A crucial bill is making its way through the Maine Legislature: “LD 1572 Resolve, To Analyze the Impact of Sea Level Rise.” We hope you will lend your voice in support of this bill.

This bill will require state agencies to incorporate sea level rise and other climate change factors into Maine’s coastal land use laws, a top recommendation of the Maine Won’t Wait climate action plan. Even with reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, scientific consensus predicts Maine will experience at least 1.5 feet of sea level rise by 2050 and 3.9 feet by 2100. Without planning and action, rising seas will permanently flood coastal wastewater treatment plants, roads, beaches, and sand dunes, which could cost up to $17.5 billion in damages by 2050.

We can take measures to minimize this harm if we revise our coastal laws, site and build infrastructure differently, and employ natural solutions such as living shorelines. LD 1572 provides a roadmap for Maine to take action to mitigate and adapt to rising seas.

The Maine Legislature’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on LD 1572 on May 7 at 9 a.m. It is important that the Committee hear from you.

What you can do:

Submit written testimony in favor of LD 1572 to the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, via the Maine Legislature’s Testimony Submission and Sign-up page. This testimony page can be confusing, so we have included below detailed instructions for submitting testimony.*

Here are a few talking points you may want to include in your testimony (it would be best if you could put these into your own words):

Dear Senator Stacy Brenner, Representative Ralph Tucker, and the Distinguished Members of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee:

I am writing to ask that the Environment and Natural Resources Committee vote that LD 1572: Resolve, To Analyze the Impact of Sea Level Rise, ought to pass because:

  • Seas are rising. Scientific consensus predicts Maine will experience at least 1.5 feet of sea level rise by 2050 and 3.9 feet by 2100. Maine’s coast will see increases in nuisance flooding, loss of coastal habitats and beaches, and inundation of coastal infrastructure, such as wastewater treatment plants, roads, culverts, and crossings.
  • Flooding and storms are surging. 1-foot of sea level rise alone is projected to result in a 15-fold increase in nuisance flooding, and climate change is expected to increase the frequency of “100-year” storms to occur once every 10 years. These impacts will cause substantial disruptions for coastal communities and the fishing, tourism, and port industries that support them.
  • Coastal ecosystems may drown. 1.6-feet of sea level rise is anticipated to submerge 67% of Maine’s coastal sand dunes, reduce our dry beaches by 42%, and devastate saltmarshes. All three of these ecosystems provide invaluable ecosystem services and economic benefits to our communities.
  • Economic consequences will be staggering. 3.9-feet of sea level rise is estimated to cause over $671 million in cumulative building losses and $665 million in gross domestic losses in Maine. Economists hired by the Maine Climate Council predict that by 2050, Maine’s coastline will sustain damages of up to $17.5 billion if we do not adapt now.
  • We can’t wait. LD 1572 will enable us to make our communities resilient now before the worst impacts of sea level rise affect our coast.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

If you need help submitting your testimony through the Maine Legislature’s website you can reach out to our Staff Writer, Robby Lewis-Nash, for help [email robbylewisnash [at] cascobay [dot] org or call (413) 695-3306].

Thank you for using your voice to help protect the health of Casco Bay.

Ivy Frignoca
Casco Baykeeper
Friends of Casco Bay

*Instructions for submitting testimony
To submit written testimony, you must use the same online form as signing up to testify live. The language on the page does not make this clear that the form allows you to submit your written testimony and provides the option to sign up to testify live. The numbered steps below correspond with the red arrows in the photo.

1. To submit testimony, first select “public hearing” as the type of hearing.

2. Then select “Environment and Natural Resources Committee.”

3. Select May 7 at 9 a.m., the date and time when the LD 1572 hearing is scheduled.

4. You will then have the option to select LD 1572 as the bill you want to submit testimony for.

5. You can write your comments directly into the form, attach the file of your written testimony, or copy-and-paste your words into the form.

6. You will then need to put your name and contact information into the form.

7. Check the “I am not a robot” box.

8. Finally, click the “submit/register” button.

Here’s a visual overview of the eight step process.