House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan, was named the Environmental Champion of the Year by a statewide environmental advocacy group, based on his legislative support for land conservation and solar power.
The group, Maine Conservation Voters, also announced Wednesday that Reps. Henry Beck, D-Waterville, and Thomas Longstaff, D-Waterville, received perfect environmental scorecard ratings for their voting records during the 127th Legislature, according to a news release from the House Democratic Office. Other central Maine Democrats who earned perfect scores are Donna Doore, of Augusta, representing District 85; Lori Fowle, of Vassalboro, representing District 80; Charlotte Warren, of Hallowell, representing District 84; Gay Grant, of Gardiner, representing District 83; and Craig Hickman, of Winthrop, representing District 81.
In all, 70 of the state’s 186 representatives and state senators earned perfect scores this year.
Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, who represents District 15, also earned a 100 from the group.
McCabe earned a perfect scorecard not only for the 127th Legislature, but for all four of his terms.
In awarding this year’s scorecards, the group took into account nine bills from the 127th Legislature, including “measures to protect water from metallic mining pollution and taxpayers from clean-up costs; establish a comprehensive solar policy to create jobs, reduce energy costs and mitigate climate change; require the governor to release millions of dollars in voter-approved Land for Maine’s Future Program bonds; restore energy efficiency funding to the Efficiency Maine Trust; prevent unsustainable timber harvesting on public lands; and prioritize stewardship and recreational uses of public lands.”
The release applauds McCabe for leading the legislative fight to push Gov. Paul LePage to release voter-approved Land for Maine’s Future bonds, which included funding for the Cold Stream Forest project which aims to conserve to more than 8,000 acres of land in Somerset County. The land encompasses 3,000 acres of deer wintering habitat.
After the Legislature failed to override LePage’s veto of L.D. 1378, which would have amended the laws governing the issuance of the Land for Maine’s Future bonds, at the end of the 2015 session, McCabe sponsored an amended bill that directed the governor to release the bonds. The bill was passed unanimously in the House and the Senate, providing the release of $6.5 million in bonds to protect working farms, forest and waterfronts, according to the Maine Conservation Voters’ website.
McCabe’s work in water protection legislation also is cited as bolstering his environmental record, including sponsoring measures to protect lakes from pollution, invest in clean water infrastructure and help communities prepare for severe storms and flooding.
McCabe is running for the District 3 seat in the Maine Senate, challenging incumbent Rodney Whittemore, R-Skowhegan. Whittemore was given a 43 percent environmental in this year’s Maine Conservation Voters scorecard, and has an overall lifetime rating of 36 percent. The district includes Anson, Bingham, Canaan, Caratunk, the central Somerset Unorganized Territory, Cornville, Dennistown Plantation and Embden.
Lauren Abbate — 861-9252