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Maine Lawmakers Consider Raising License Fees For Wastewater Facilities

With the cost of enforcing the Clean Water Act on the rise and the decline of federal grants, Maine lawmakers are considering a 40 percent increase in the license fees assessed to polluters.

State Representative Ralph Tucker, a Democrat from Brunswick, is the sponsor of the bill. “The Department has persuaded me that these increases are justified,” Tucker says. “They will protect our investment in an enforcement infrastructure.”

Businesses and municipal wastewater facilities have to to pay a license fee to help cover the cost of enforcing the federal Clean Water Act.

Some members of the legislature’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee are concerned about the size of this proposed increase. Darryl Brown of the Maine Auto Recyclers Association testified that he believes there are industries that should be paying a fee that are flying under the radar.

"There’s plenty of fees that could be had, that they wouldn’t need the increases if there was a way to find everybody that should have a license that doesn’t.”

Brown says the state must do a better job charging all polluters before raising the cost of a license.

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.