Governor LePage Receives a “D” on Environmental Report Card, LePage fires back
BY RAMONA DU HOUX
October 1st, 2012
Maine Conservation Voters (MCV) released its biennial gubernatorial report card on Monday and gave Governor LePage a grade of “D” for his first two years in office. In a press conference at the State House, speakers expressed disappointment with the Governor’s policy agenda and its impact on Maine’s natural resources, local and state economies, and the health of Maine people.
“Maine people have long understood a simple truth: our environment, our health, and our economic opportunities all go hand-in-hand. It is unwise and unnecessary to choose one over the others,” stated Leslie Harroun, Board President of Maine Conservation Voters. “A review of the Governor’s record indicates that rather than moving Maine forward, many of the Governor’s actions do not reflect Maine values and instead put our air, water, land, and wildlife at risk.”
The Report Card includes a twelve-page assessment of how Governor LePage approached the job of conserving Maine’s natural resources. It highlights his primary accomplishments, failures, and missed opportunities. And it offers a look to the future and a clear-cut policy agenda that Maine Conservation Voters hopes the Governor will adopt in the next two years.
“Instead of building on the Maine brand, the Governor advanced policies that took a short-term approach to economic development and didn’t create value for our children and grandchildren,” said Kevin Slater, a Maine Guide from Newry. “As a result, core environmental protections have been weakened. The Governor needs to get back on track by investing in timberland, farmland, and coastal land, and working to improve the health of Maine’s rivers and waters.”
MCV has been issuing report cards on Maine’s sitting Governor since 2006. In compiling information for the report, MCV sought input from a broad range of individuals and organizations. The Governor and his administration were also asked to offer an assessment of their performance. All this information was considered carefully in MCV’s analysis.
LePage was not pleased and the Department of Conservation, the Department of Marine Resources, as well as his office released press statements to counter the research score card. Many just listed duties that are ongoing in these agencies. One press release pointed to his support of the Pennobescott Dam removal, which has been in the works for over two decades.
“While we appreciate some positive outcomes from the LePage administration, most represent the ongoing responsibilities of government agencies,” stated Barrie Brusila, a forester from Warren. “They are simply not enough to offset the many policies the Governor advanced that take Maine in the wrong direction. The Governor acted to weaken state agencies and, by failing to issue voter-approved bonds, he missed opportunities to lower energy costs and help municipalities improve water quality, promote economic development in environmentally sustainable ways, and support the good health and good jobs that Maine’s clean water and greener technologies can provide.”
“This scorecard deserves an ‘I’ for incomplete, irrelevant and inaccurate,” said LePage in his press release. “I am disappointed that despite my Administration’s hard work on the natural resources areas over two years and our willingness to engage that this is the result.”
The scorecard evalutates that two years differently.
“All in all, the Governor’s first two years have been bad news for Maine children and families. It’s time for him to get back on track,” said Laura Brady, a mother of two from Hallowell. “The Governor needs to make children’s products safer by naming new Priority Chemicals under the Kid-Safe Products Act. He also can help build our local economies and put healthy local food in school cafeterias by supporting the Farm and Fish to School Program. If one of my kids ever comes home with a D on her report card, I will have her work very hard to get back on track. I expect nothing less from Governor LePage.”