AUGUSTA – An effort to reauthorize voter-approved conservation bonds in Maine is making its way through state government.

Gov. Paul LePage had withheld the bonds and criticized the conservation program, but then said he would issue the $6.5 million if legislators renewed them. The Maine House of Representatives voted 145-0 to give its final approval to the reauthorization on Tuesday. The matter will now go to the Maine Senate.

LePage called the Land For Maine’s Future bond program a giveaway that benefits wealthy landowners and an improper use of Maine tax money. He then released $5 million in bonds, though the expired bonds that voters approved in 2010 amounted to another $6.5 million.

The bonds pay for open space preservation.

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