LePage’s opposition to federal conservation projects solidifies his long-held positions

Good morning from Augusta, where the news keeps on flowing. With August and vacation season behind us, it’ll only pick up from here. 

On Monday, the resignation of Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Patricia Aho garnered some attention, but it was Gov. Paul LePage’s letters to President Barack Obama and Maine’s congressional delegation in opposition to creating national monuments in the Katahdin region and Gulf of Maine that captured the most interesting news of the day.  

The whole affair just solidifies LePage’s position that Maine’s land and waters are for economic activity first and conservation second, if at all. His chief argument against creating national monuments was that doing so would block loggers and fishermen from Maine’s natural resources. Let’s not forget that LePage is holding up the sale of $11 million in conservation bonds — and has said that conservation projects accomplished with Land for Maine’s Future funding only benefits the rich — and wants to increase timber harvesting on public lands so Maine can use the revenue to fund a heating efficiency program. 

LePage’s attitude about public lands is pretty remarkable, considering this is a state whose voters have a history of supporting conservation projects, and his stance on the conservation bonds, for instance, seems to be causing him problems with sportsmen who typically lean Republican. 

Also among LePage’s arguments against creating national monuments is that it would be an inappropriate use of power by Obama, who can declare national monuments without congressional approval (unlike the process for national parks). Herein lies more consistency from LePage, who has often argued against federal mandates on the state. 

For a governor who is famous for doing the unexpected, LePage on some topics is as predictable as anyone. 

Green Independents electing leaders

The Maine Green Independent Party has re-elected Sam Chandler, who ran for the Maine House in Portland’s District 36 in 2014, as its secretary. He joins co-chairs Patricia Jackson and Gil Harris, as well as treasurer Mako Bates on the party’s executive committee.

The party also named John Rensenbrink of Topsham, who was instrumental in founding the party, to a one-year term on the national Green Party committee and the Green Party International Committee. This continues involvement Rensenbrink has had with the party dating back three decades.

The party also named Mario Girouard of Orono and the Penobscot Indian Nation to the Green Independent Party’s state committee.

Parade of politicos through Maine

Today marks the first of three days of national politicians coming through Maine.

  • Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul is holding a public rally on Main Street in Freeport this evening, beginning at 5:30 p.m.
  • U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Maryland, will be in Maine on Wednesday, where he will make appearances at round-table discussions in Portland and Bar Harbor in support of the campaign finance reform question on this November’s ballot. For more details, click here.
  • On Thursday, former Hewlett-Packard CEO and Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina will be the guest speaker at the Maine Heritage Policy Center’s Freedom & Opportunity Luncheon in South Portland. Click here for more details.

Reading list

Study: Liberals trust scientists more

A new research survey by the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey School of Public Policy found that liberals trust scientists more than conservatives do, regardless of the topic. The numbers, unsurprisingly, were particularly skewed when it comes to climate change and evolution, with liberals showing more trust than conservatives.

“These results overturn the proposition that with this selection of topics, we could find opposite and similarly strong ideological biases slanting in both directions,” said UNH Sociology Professor Lawrence Hamilton, in a press release. “If such opposite biases exist, their effects are relatively weak.”

That’s a pretty astute observation of the political climate in the United States.

For a scientist. — Christopher Cousins






Christopher Cousins

About Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins has worked as a journalist in Maine for more than 15 years and covered state government for numerous media organizations before joining the Bangor Daily News in 2009.