Maine White Pine Cone

MAINE PINE TREE AMENDMENT

Maine Overview

What is The Maine Pine Tree Amendment?

The Pine Tree Amendment is Maine’s Version of a Green Amendment. Green Amendments are self-executing provisions added to the Bill of Rights section of a constitution that recognize and protect the rights of all people, including future generations, to a clean and healthy environment including pure water, clean air, a stable climate, and healthy environments.

What’s Happening in Maine?

Maine lobsterGreen Amendments For The Generations is working with our lead partners Maine Youth Action &  Down To Earth Storytelling, as well as individual community activists and leaders, to build a growing coalition of grassroots organizations, indigenous leaders, youth leaders, civic leaders, legislators, and dedicated residents.

The Pine Tree Amendment was re-proposed for the 2023 legislative session as LD928.  The Amendment is currently being considered by the Environment and Natural Resources Committee.  The Committee hearing was well attended with robust comments in support.  

Learn more about how the Maine Constitution is amended here. See our Pine Tree Amendment Frequently Asked Questions here, and check out our Resources page to explore more.  And also take a look at the website of our grassroots coalition where you can find all sorts of ways to get engaged and involved: https://www.pinetreeamendment.org .

The proposed bill reads as follows in Art. I of the Maine Constitution:

  1. Section 26. Environmental rights. The people of the State have the right to a clean and healthy environment and to the preservation of the natural, cultural and healthful qualities of the environment. The State may not infringe upon these rights. The State shall conserve, protect and maintain the State’s natural resources, including, but not limited to, its air, water, land and ecosystems for the benefit of all the people, including generations yet to come.

What Happened in 2022. The Foundation For This Year.

On March 24th, 2022 the Pine Tree Amendment secured support from a majority of the Maine House of Representatives in a vote of 77 to 59.  In Maine, a 2/3 majority is needed for the proposal to advance — while the Pine Tree Amendment came close to the mark, it didn’t quite get there but this demonstrates a powerful foundation from which to continue to build.

Organizations Signed in Support of the Maine Pine Tree Amendment

Senators & Representatives Sponsoring the Pine Tree Amendment

  • Representative Margaret O’NEIL of Saco
  • Representative Lydia CRAFTS of Newcastle
  • Representative Rebecca JAUCH of Topsham
  • Representative William PLUECKER of Warren
  • Representative Ambureen RANA of Bangor
  • Senator Richard BENNETT of Oxford
  • Senator Matthea DAUGHTRY of Cumberland
  • Representative Morgan RIELLY of Westbrook
  • Representative Sophia WARREN of Scarborough

Check Out Senator Bennett’s 2022 Testimony (R-19)

Senator Brenner, Representative Tucker and esteemed colleagues of the Joint Standing Committee on Environment and Natural Resources: My name is Rick Bennett, I live in Oxford, and I have the honor of representing the beautiful foothills and lakes region of western Maine in the Maine Senate. I am pleased to cosponsor LD 489, “RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Establish a Right to a Healthy Environment”—also known as the Pine Tree Amendment. The proposed Amendment is predicated on the fact that a core condition of human life and core to our state’s identity is a healthy environment and a clean outdoors. This Amendment will hold our government accountable to protect these as basic rights.

The Pine Tree Amendment would be added to Article I., the Declaration of Rights in the Maine Constitution. This enumeration of rights therefore precedes the mechanisms and applications of governmental powers, the checks and balances, the legal definitions which follow. Indeed, the expression of these rights foremost in our founding document is designed as a limitation on the governmental power that is thereafter constructed. The Declaration of Rights are the bedrock principles and legal protections that you can expect if you live in Maine. The Pine Tree Amendment fits comfortably and contentedly in this context. What commonality is more important for Mainers than our bountiful, beautiful outdoors – the clean winds of Katahdin, the lapping waves of Sebago, the bends of coastal shoreline? What says Maine more than cross-country skiing on a crisp March morning, dipping your paddle in Chesuncook Lake, feeling the earth awaken around your tree stand in November, traversing the boulders of Mahoosuc Notch, or hearing the buoy bell at eventide? Our way of life in Maine demands recognition and protection as a right of the people. Sadly, our government has shown that it cannot always be trusted. Sometimes its policies are swayed unduly by centers of influence, such as globe-straddling corporations that may think of Maine as a market, as a means to an end, rather than as the unique place it is, where there is a special interconnectedness between the people and the lands and waters on which we live, play, work, and find sustenance. Thus, the Pine Tree Amendment will help safeguard the harmonizing elements of our way of life, our shared values and our common culture. I ask for your favorable consideration and thank you for your attention

National Green Amendments Movement

Find out where else we are working.

Learn more about Green Amendments For the Generations at forthegenerations.org.