Public Land: Chellie Pingree was a major advocate for a large bond to purchase public land. While Chellie proposed even more than was passed, she urged for the approval of $50 million for the preservation of public land, which would increase outdoor access and recreation, farmland preservation and wildlife habitat protection.
Chellie was an original sponsor of legislation to appropriate $50 million to acquire public land. She urged approval of Question 7, a referendum to provide a $50 million bond to fund Land for Maine's Future, a governmental agency that would purchase open land to preserve. At the time, Chellie recognized that importance of the environment and its role in Maine's future. "Access to public land is part of our economy," she said. "Access to unique and natural areas is an investment in our economy. I believe this is an investment in our future and it needs to coexist with our forest products industry and manufacturing and service based sectors of the economy."
Natural Resources: Chellie cosponsored a bill to promote natural resource based industries. The bill directed the State Planning Office to develop a report that proposed ways to ensure that state resources dedicated to natural resource based industries were equitable with state resources dedicated to other business development. The report would also analyze needs of the workforce for natural resource - based industries and proposed new education programs to encourage individuals to enter into the fishing, farming and forestry industry. The bill was signed into law by the Governor.
Wildlife Protection: Chellie voted to protect Atlantic salmon by voting against a bill that would have allowed a catch and release season for Atlantic salmon despite the recommendation of biologists from the Maine Atlantic Salmon Commission to close the season for all Atlantic salmon fishing in the state. The fish was under review for listing as an endangered species.
Air Quality and Pollution: Chellie has a record of fighting to protect the air we breathe and reducing our exposure to toxins. She cosponsored a bill to provide rebates for people who make the green choice to by cleaner cars and voted to require emissions testing. In addition, Chellie voted to continue reducing the use of toxics.
Chellie cosponsored a bill in the Senate to improve air quality. The bill implemented the Cleaner Car Rebates Program to promote the purchase of new and used cleaner cars and trucks through the use of offering a rebate to the purchaser of such a vehicle. The bill was enacted and signed into law by the governor.
Chellie also voted for vehicle emissions testing supporting a bill that would have created a statewide vehicle emissions inspection program to comply with the Clean Air Act.
Chellie voted to reauthorize the toxic reduction program and established new goals through 2006 for reductions in the use and release of toxics and the generation of hazardous wastes.
Genetically Engineered Food: In 1994, Chellie was the only Senator to be appointed to the Maine Legislature's Committee to Study Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering. The following year, Chellie cosponsored a bill that would have required a retailer who sells genetically engineered food to separately display and place a sign by the food that identifies it as genetically engineered. It would have also required manufacturers and distributors of genetically engineered food to use delivery tickets and invoices that identify the food as genetically engineered.
Corporate Responsibility: Chellie voted for a bill that would have suspended for three months certain public subsidies to businesses that were in criminal violation of Maine's environmental laws.
Forests and Clearcutting: Chellie cosponsored and voted for legislation to study poor forestry practices. The bill would have required the Maine Forest Service to develop recommendations to address "cut and run" logging and other unsustainable forestry practices.
Chellie voted to limit clear cutting by voting for a bill that was designed by a coalition of environmental organizations and was meant to limit clear cutting, require more trees to be left when logging, ensure sustainable forest management and require forestry audits for landowners of 100,000 acres or more.
MOFGA: In 1974, while studying agriculture and land sciences at College of the Atlantic under Eliot Coleman, Chellie became a MOFGA Board member. She applied to apprentice with Tony Bok for the summer, thus starting MOFGA's apprenticeship program. Chellie helped up the formal program in 1975 and ran it while serving as treasurer of MOFGA.