AUGUSTA – Environmental groups want Maine’s Legislature and candidates for governor to pay attention to land preservation, wind power projects and water quality standards.

The Environmental Priorities Coalition, which includes 25 groups, outlined its ideas for a prosperous Maine on Thursday, saying it represents more than 100,000 Mainers who are members of their respective organizations.

“Regardless of who is elected to the Blaine House or the Legislature, we must choose a path that allows our environmental policy making to be fair, our environmental laws to be enforced and our environmental programs to be adequately funded,” said Maureen Drouin, executive director of the Maine Conservation Voters Education Fund.

At news conferences in Portland and Augusta, the coalition unveiled what it called a “Trail Map to Prosperity” — essentially a five-year plan that focuses on healthy people, clean energy, new jobs, livable communities and the protection of land, air, water and wildlife.

Jenn Gray, an attorney with Maine Audubon, said the state must buy more land by putting $20 million a year for five years into the Land for Maine’s Future program.

“We need to significantly increase our publicly owned land, our forest acreage that is harvested sustainably, and our acreage in permanently protected wild lands and ecological reserves,” she said.

Heather Spalding of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association said that farmland needs to be protected, too, and that chemicals need to be phased out of products and farming.

Dylan Voorhees of the Natural Resources Council of Maine said Maine exported more than $5 billion to pay for gas and oil in 2008. To reduce dependence on fossil fuels, he said, the state should push to weatherize homes and pursue wind power and improved transportation.

In her prepared remarks, Drouin wrote that state agencies that deal with environmental issues and conservation “have been stretched to the breaking point.” She also made reference to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, to emphasize the importance of funding those agencies.

MaineToday Media State House Reporter Susan Cover can be contacted at 620-7015 or at:

[email protected]