Fighting Over Fireworks

Just two years after consumer fireworks were legalized in Maine, a move is under way to ban them again.

By Edgar Allen Beem

The 126th Maine Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee considered five bills earlier this year that would restrict the use of consumer fireworks or ban them altogether. This after the 125th Maine Legislature legalized fireworks, which were banned in 1949, just two years ago.

“We have the exact same concerns today that they had back in the 1940s,” says Representative Michel Lajoie (D-Lewiston), a retired Lewiston fire chief, ticking off the list of concerns: injuries, fires, and disturbing wildlife, farm animals, combat veterans, and the peace in general. “The product we were putting on the market was a volatile, dangerous product that is a major nuisance in regard to noise,” says Lajoie, explaining why he proposed LD 111, a bill to reinstate the statewide fireworks ban.

Other bills sought to require local permits, prohibit fireworks after 9 p.m., establish fireworks-free zones, and create one-mile buffer zones around farms.

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Edgar Allen Beem is a freelance writer from Yarmouth who has been contributing to Down East since 1983.

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