AUGUSTA – Maine environmental groups say that fighting Gov. Paul LePage’s proposed repeal of environmental regulations is on their priority list for this legislative session.

The Maine Environmental Priorities Coalition, which represents 25 groups supported by about 100,000 members, vowed Thursday to fight any weakening of the state’s environmental protections and came out in support of four measures, including several that the LePage administration opposes.

The groups announced their legislative agenda Thursday at the State House after a breakfast with lawmakers.

“Every step we take must maintain our forward-thinking approach to natural resource stewardship and reflect the core values Maine people hold dear,” said Maureen Drouin, executive director of the Maine Conservation Voters Education Fund.

The coalition is backing efforts to protect land from development and put the state on a timetable to reduce its dependence on oil. The group also endorsed measures to expand the state’s electronic waste program to small businesses and ban a controversial chemical from some baby products. Both of the latter measures are on LePage’s list of regulations that ought to be rolled back or repealed to improve the state’s business climate.

LePage introduced his six-page, 63-item list of burdensome regulations last month. The list includes proposals to open up the Maine wilderness to development, toss out many of the state’s recycling laws and scale back Maine’s regulatory standards to match less stringent federal ones.

The environmental coalition’s proposals are drawing support from some Republican and Democratic lawmakers, who in the past gave bipartisan support to environmental legislation.

But the environmental coalition faces a vastly different atmosphere in Augusta this session, with a Republican governor and a Republican-dominated Senate and House.

Sen. David Trahan, R-Waldoboro, is pushing for a $48 million bond that includes $28 million for the Land for Maine’s Future program. The rest would support farms, working waterfronts, state parks and natural resource infrastructure improvements.

Rep. Stacey Fitts, R-Pittsfield, has filed legislation to require Maine to cut its use of oil for transportation and heat by 30 percent by 2030 and 50 percent by 2050, by shifting to other energy sources.

Rep. Melissa Walsh-Innes, D-Yarmouth, is leading an effort to persuade the Legislature to ban bisphenol-A in baby bottles and drinking cups. The Board of Environmental Protection, under the Kids Safe Products Law, recommended phase-out of the chemical, which has been linked to cancer and other diseases.

Walsh-Innes has also filed six bills under the state’s product stewardship law that would add paint, pharmaceuticals, syringes and other so-called medical sharps to the list of products that manufacturers are responsible for recycling.

Walsh-Innes also wants to expand the state’s household electronic waste law to small businesses. The law now requires manufacturers to pay for the recycling of consumer products such as TVs, computers, desk printers, video game consoles, digital picture frames and fluorescent lamps.

Staff Writer Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:

[email protected]