Thursday, August 26, 2010

LePage - Bad Signs

Paul LePage has made it very strikingly clear that one of Maine’s finest assets, our environment, is not a priority for him by telling us that on his first day in office, "day one, I come down to Kittery and take down the sign, Maine, the way life should be and put up one that says, Maine, open for business”. In fact LePage’s website does not even bother to address as an issue, environment, conservation, or any significant concern for Maine’s vital outdoors except for a rant under “Government Regulation” that includes now debunked LePage folksy fabricated studies:

…eliminate bizarre and unreasonable studies resulting in needless delays (i.e. buffalo and black fly census studies in Maine), and eliminate regulations that are incompatible with other regulations, whereby when one regulation is followed, another is violated. In that same vein, I propose that all duplicate and replicated regulations from DEP and LURC be repealed.
From way back in the primary campaign, LePage has expressed concern that the Department of Environmental Protection, charged on behalf of the people of Maine to protect the environment is…well, pro-environment:

He said "day two" of his administration, he tackles those DEP regulations, that he said often "serve no purpose except to cost businesses money. The regulatory system has been very adversarial to business and very pro-environment.

"Look at Land for Maine's Future. You can't harvest timber, you can't do any cutting. No one is going to have the benefit of creating wealth and prosperity from it," he said.
The preceding is also a prime example of LePage’s willingness to either stoop to outright falsehoods or just make up stuff to fit his own off-the-cuff flawed and false assumptions. That may work in his mind and as a bit of red meat for his followers but for the rest of us in the real world what Land for Maine's Future actual guidelines say will suffice:

Many LMF projects involve easements that permit continued sustainable forestry alongside recreational uses of the land. In these areas, you may encounter active logging operations.
Finally and less known is that Paul LePage’s desire to symbolically take down “Maine, the way life should be” is his personal sign off with a group called Americans for Prosperity using his tired anti-tax language to “oppose legislation relating to climate change that includes a net increase in government revenue.” It is one more example of the LePage ignore reality and forget any long-term true costs to society attitude.

But despite the pleasant sounding name, what is this group, Americans for Prosperity that Paul LePage has pledged to support and govern us by if elected with his present non-gubernatorial signature? Well it turns out to be, as well documented and exposed in the New Yorker, basically one of many pretend grassroots organizations and tea party operations heavily bankrolled by two billion brothers, Charles and David Koch who own Koch Industries that in turn owns several forest product industries such as Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups, and Georgia-Pacific lumber.

The Kochs are also longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry—especially environmental regulation.

It is a long and twisted Maine logging road one has to travel to find where Paul LePage’s loyalties lie. And at the end of that road is a fork.

On one, the sign, Maine, the way life should be still stands. That path is protected for sustainable use and travels through many places protected for our children that include good productive timber harvesting in Land for Maine’s Future, green energy jobs, and great outdoor recreational resources along with development sensitive to Maine’s quality of life that attracts tourists and new residents. Libby Mitchell is hiking far ahead on that trail already.

The other direction will have Paul LePage’s sign, Maine, open for business, on it. That road will be clear-cut of our livelihood aspirations, eroded by long term environmental damage, foolishly unregulated - damaging outdoor regulation and traditional Maine forestland pursuits, primarily set aside for out-of-state interests who will export our children’s future for unsustainable immediate corporate income without regard to climate damage or consequences. That is what Paul LePage is symbolically signing us up for with Americans for Prosperity and for what his imaginary sign in Kittery represents.

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