The State of Maine’s Environment 2012 is written by senior environmental studies policy majors at Colby College in Maine. This report is the seventh in a series that addresses important environmental issues in Maine. The topics covered in this report are the state of: large landscape conservation, energy infrastructure, industrial hazardous waste, and voluntary certification programs. In addition to assessment within the state, we evaluate how Maine compares to other New England states.

Each chapter follows a similar outline. We provide a historical context, describe selected laws and institutions, involved stakeholders, analyze the current state of the topic, and assess how Maine compares to other New England states. We also provide implications of our findings, future scenarios, and conclusions, and each chapter concludes with policy recommendations based on our findings.

The State of Large landscape Conservation, chapter 1, describes a collaborative approach that seeks to address environmental problems across large scales bounded not by ownership or political jurisdiction, but by ecological, social, and economic goals.  As development threatens to fragment natural landscapes, gaps in habitat and biodiversity loss are two of the most pressing ecological concerns driving large landscape initiatives. In this chapter we explore how fee owned land, conservation easements, and differences among federal, state, and privately owned land influence current and future large landscape patterns in Maine.

The State of Energy in Maine is assessed in chapter 2 with a focus on electricity and natural gas transmission. Energy drives the economy and is important to Maine’s environment. Transmission infrastructure not only directly influences the types of energy we have available, but also dictates future energy developments (US Energy Information Administration, 2012). A careful consideration of development in energy infrastructure will allow us to effectively build for tomorrow’s energy needs.

The State of Industrial Hazardous Waste in Maine, chapter 3, describes an issue of importantance to ecological and human health. An extimated 94% of total waste generated nationally is improperly handled, which magnifies the threat of potential exposure to humans and/or contamination of the environment (Smith, 2013). In this chapter we assess the production, transmission, and disposal of industrial hazardous waste in Maine to understand where our waste comes from and how it is moved and dispersed.

Lastly, The State of Voluntary Certification Schemes in Maine, chapter 4, describes soft law mechanisms that contrast with hard law in that they are not regulatory but nonetheless combine the public’s interest in establishing standards of sustainability with mechanisms for the measurement of compliance (Steering Committee of the State-of-Knowledge Assessment of Standards and Certification, 2012). These sustainability standards aim to protect natural resources, and this chapter addresses how certification schemes are used to encourage environmental sustainability using buildings, lakes, and forest products in Maine. We focus on the Green Building Leadership Council’s LEED program, the lake conservation program LakeSmart, and two forest certification schemes, Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI) and Forest Sustainability Council (FSC).