The State of Maine's Environment is a series of reports written by the Colby Environmental Policy Group, senior environmental policy majors at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. This is the fourth State of Maine's Environment report created by students enrolled in ES 493: Environmental Policy Practicum.
The 2008 report examines four topics of importance to Maine: Energy and Climate, Toxic Substances, Marine Fisheries, and Private Land Conservation. For each issue, we explore the history of the topic, laws and regulations, stakeholders, the current state of the topic, implications of our findings, and scenarios that we can relate for the future state of the topic. We conclude each chapter with recommendations for future policies.
*Energy and Climate*
Maine households use energy through heating, lighting, and other means specific to the Maine context. Residential energy use in Maine involves substantial fossil fuel combustion, which contributes to climate change.
Mercury, arsenic and lead vary in their origins but all contribute to human health problems in Maine. We examine geographic and temporal trends in the sources of these toxics and links between toxic exposure and health problems such as cancer and birth defects.
We examine fish population trends, fisheries policy, fishing communities, and current threats to fisheries. Maine's fishing communities and activities, as well as the proximity of pollution to fish spawning grounds, all influence the current state of Maine's fisheries.
*Private Land Conservation*
Mainers have varied access to privately conserved lands and to information about these lands. We examine differences in public access to state and local land trusts. Land type, income, and population density also may influence access to and location of land trusts.