Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Houses and Trees


A new bill is being discussed in Augusta that would require developers of large subdivisions or commercial properties to consider climate change in their plans. If a project cuts down trees or builds inefficiently, fees would be assessed. Not bad, huh? Pay a little more for building suburbia or Walmarts, get a lot more in kindness to the earth and our descendants. Such is already the law in Massachusetts and California.

Predictably, the construction industry is against it, blathering about bad economic times, losing jobs, etc. In a stunning display of unlogic, a builder in Westbrook (name omitted to protect the ignorant) told the Press Herald today that there is no lack of forests in Maine and trees don't need protection. I hope he was misquoted.

Too bad we can't put a complete moratorium on suburbs and big boxes. Too bad we have to niggle and time them. Too bad we can't just re-purpose all the buildings made empty by the greed of the builders and the bankers and the flippers. Too bad we can't have a development footprint for each town: only under the most pressing of circumstances can you build where nothing has been built before. Too bad we can't let the poor trees be.

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