PPEAT Meeting Minutes: April 12, 2022

Public Policy and Environmental Action Team Minutes

April 12, 2022

Facilitator: Sarah Braik

Minutes: Charles Skold

Present: Mary Linneman, Sarah Braik, Charles Skold, Barbara Ryland, Ralph Cordes, Kathy Coughlin, Sam Allen, Dick Farnsworth, MJ Northrop and Rep. Chris Kessler

The Cathedral of St. Luke sits on unceded Wabanaki territory. We acknowledge that we have benefitted from the exploitation and subjugation of those whom our forebears failed to understand and honor. 

We also acknowledge the legacy of colonization embedded within the technology, structures, and ways of thinking we use every day, leaving significant carbon footprints and contributing to changing climates that disproportionately affect indigenous people worldwide.

Let us acknowledge all this, and take collective responsibility to make good use of our meeting time, and to work towards dismantling the ongoing legacies of settler colonialism, to preserve lands and waters for future generations, and to support indigenous sovereignty. 

Reflection (Sarah)

“The feeling of my selfishness is absence: the absence from my life of the trash I leave behind, which becomes the structures into which others must live, the broken hearts, the warmer air, the slower fish, the rising ocean: whatever I do not feel that to others becomes the shape of their world.” 

Kristen Dombek The Selfishness of Others 

  • Announcements
    1. April coffee hour display-Mary and Sarah are tabling on the 24th in the Upper Hall. 
    2. Jump the Generation Gap! Thursday, April 28, 2022 at 7PM. Online Make Shift Coffee House event where we will explore how people of different ages hear and see things differently. Addie Hinds and Craig Freshley, who range in age from 16-60, will jump into a conversation across the gap during this interactive online event. Join in with your own questions, challenges, and perspectives based on your own age and the gap you face with others. 
  • Diocesan and legislative updates (John Hennessy)
    1. LD 906 – Penobscot Water bill passed in the House today
      1. Passed with a veto-proof majority!
      2. Will come up for vote in Senate on Wednesday
    2. LD 1626 – Tribal Sovereignty Bill
      1. Will come up for vote in House on Thursday
  • Rep. Chris Kessler – Part of South Portland and Cape Elizabeth
    1. Housing crisis
      1. Group of legislators in the house pushing for housing reform
      2. LD 2003 An Act To Implement the Recommendations of the Commission To Increase Housing Opportunities in Maine by Studying Zoning and Land Use Restrictions
      3. Included $22.5M in supplemental budget for housing
        1. Maine Housing – flexibility on how they spend the money
      4. Zoning Reform
        1. Call from conservatives – want to reduce restrictions on building
        2. From a bipartisan group that met to come up with changes
        3. About to leave committee
        4. Reform
          1. Eliminating single-family zoning
          2. Allowing construction of accessory dwelling units
          3. As long as they follow other ordinances and limits
          4. Some municipalities pushing back and saying it takes too much of their control away
      5. People who need housing, getting kicked out of the South Portland and OOB hotels
        1. Have very acute needs
          1. Substance abuse, co-occurring disorders
        2. Need to find a systemic solution to work out
      6. Asylum Seekers
        1. Housing contracts with hotels are still in place
        2. Challenges to joining workforce
          1. Takes a year or more to be able to work
          2. Federal Advocacy to reduce work permit wait times
        3. Trying to create a voucher program for housing
    2. Questions
      1. How to bring homes up to standard so they are livable, and prevent people from dropping out of housing and into homelessness?
        1. Maine Housing has a home repair program and administer the Federal weatherization program
        2. Need more funding to respond to the actual size of the problem
      2. Is there progress on the Senior Housing Bond?
        1. Units are being built. Generally takes 2-3 years from start to finish.
      3. Can we put more money from the supplemental budget into housing?
        1. Some House Democrats are pushing to scale back the refund checks for higher income residents and putting more money for housing in the budget
      4. Properties are being bought as investments by out-of-state residents or part-time residents 
        1. Higher hope to deal with this at the municipal level
        2. Rep. Kessler introduced bill for vacancy fee
          1. This did not pass in the house, but could come back
            1. Worried about constitutionality, threat of lawsuits
          2. Final form of the bill was just to clarify for municipalities that they can implement these kind of fees if they wish
      5. Anything to share about the possibility of passing tribal sovereignty?
        1. A lot is in the hands of Janet Mills regarding signing into law
        2. House Democrats are pretty unified in support of Tribal Sovereignty
        3. Some complications around clean air and clean water regulations
        4. Best route is to advocate to the Governor directly
  1. MEPPN – 130th – 2nd Session
  • Ongoing matters 
  • Earth Day worship (Kathy and Ruth)
  • Need lectors for different parts of the service
  • Kate Shambaugh works with Portland Parks Conservatory
  • Partnering to do some plantings on May 21st
  • Amended the new PPEAT flyer to be specific to Earth Day
  • Diocesan Climate Justice Council (Barbara)
  • Sending creation care crosses and letter from the Bishop to the various parishes
  • Creation Care covenant to determine what the parish will be doing in the three areas of the Way of Love
  • Each Parish will have an “Earthkeeper” to help the Parish take action, especially locally
  • Diocesan spring training session May 14th for Parishes
  • 45 minutes to present Creation Care to the various parishes
          1. Click here for workshop descriptions.
          2. Click here to register for Spring Training
  • ECUSA’s position on gambling/gaming 
  • Difficult, will need a lot of discussion
  • In Communion with Lutheran Church, which is strongly against. The United Methodist church is also more strongly opposed than TEC
  • One of the Deputies could attend our meeting in June if they have more they could share about it
  • PURPLE (Mary)
  • Probably don’t have enough bandwidth for this right now, so we decided to drop it
  • New matters
  • Are there ways for PPEAT to work more closely with our outreach ministries in terms of advocacy/systems change towards the goal of fewer people actually needing these services? TABLED
  • Action items
  • Come to Earth Day service 10 AM April 24th
  • Attend “Jump the Generation Gap”
  • Contact Legislators and Governor
  • Housing (LD 2003)
  • Tribal Sovereignty (LD 906, LD 1626)


  • Next meeting 
  • Tuesday May 10, 2022, 6-7 PM