Bill before Mills would fine anyone releasing many balloons

June 22, 2021 GMT

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine legislators have passed a bill banning the intentional release of many balloons. The measure now awaits the signature of Gov. Janet Mills.

Out of concern for balloons’ impact on the environment, the bill would create a fine for anyone who releases a large number of balloons on purpose, the Sun Journal reported on Tuesday.

“It’s time to define intentional balloon releases as an act of littering so that people know how they are affecting the marine ecosystem,” Rep. Genevieve McDonald said when she introduced the bill, which was adopted earlier this month.

First-time offenders who release between 16 and 24 balloons would be fined between $100 and $500, if Mills signs the proposal into law. Anyone who releases more than 24 balloons would face a fine of at least $500.

The bill is not intended to punish the accidental release of a balloon by a child or someone else, the newspaper reported. It also exempts the release of balloons for scientific or meteorological purposes.