LePage Administration in Denial about Climate, Rising Seas

Several recent opinion pieces have pointed out that, when it comes to the issue of climate change, the LePage administration strategy basically amounts to gag it and put it in the back seat.

Most notably, a recent Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting Sun-Journal opinion piece states that  the LePage administration has removed a major climate change report from the state website.  Paul LePage came to office.  Then, poof, it was gone.

For us, there are echoes of the mural here.  If you don’t like something, label it as unfriendly to business.  Then make it disappear.

The  68-page report, three years in the writing, involved  the work of 75 stakeholders, including Hannaford markets, the Maine Audubon Society, the Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine and 13 state agencies.  The report, which makes 60 recommendations, was put up on the state website and presented to the legislature in 2010.

As the subsequent Sun-Journal editorial suggests, the report reflects a significant investment by individuals and groups and has the potential to help facilitate and coordinate the efforts of communities to prepare for the reality of rising sea levels.

Asked about the disappearance of the report, LePage’s DEP Commissioner (and former American Petroleum Institute lobbyist) Patricia Aho stated “We had to make a choice because we had thousands of documents and we needed to reduce our website.”  (More here about how oil-industry interests are fighting the facts on climate change).

The Sun-Journal echoed our thoughts when it stated, “That explanation has bogus written all over it. If computer storage space was so tight, the state could have asked any of a dozen organizations to host the report and linked to it from the state’s site.”

Indeed, the document is already hosted online and it would be simple matter for the LePage administration to link to it.

Not that the size of the document is an actual impediment, of course.  In pdf format, the report is only 260 kb kilobytes or about the size of a single medium resolution photograph.

At AppalledbyLePage, we also work under budgetary and bandwidth restrictions, but we’re willing to help out.  We’d like to announce that we are now hosting a copy of  the report, Adapting to a Changing Climate: Charting Maine’s Course, right here on our own server.

In his own explanation of the removal, Darryl Brown, LePage’s first DEP commissioner was more forthcoming when he stated “We made a conscious decision that (climate change) would take a back seat,”  Brown went on to explain that Maine would be better served by making environmental regulations more friendly to business.

There is nothing business friendly, however, about rising sea levels.  Just ask the folks who took the brunt of superstorm Sandy.