Maine Governor Vetoes Bill Moving State Toward Climate Change Adaptation

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"Maine Governor Vetoes Bill Moving State Toward Climate Change Adaptation"

Paul LePage. Credit:AP

The Maine legislature fell short — by a single vote — to override Maine Gov. Paul LePage’s (R) veto of a bill that would move Maine toward climate change adaptation.

On Monday, the day before President Obama told the country why it is critical to prepare for climate change, LePage vetoed a bill creating a multi-agency working group that delivers legislative proposals for climate change adaptation. Dismissing this effort as “layers of workgroups and reporting,” LePage cited “serious objections” to “unfunded mandates on the Executive branch or when the substance of the work is already being done.”

LePage’s veto, which came Monday, contrasts with Obama’s speech this week where he urged, “Those who are already feeling the effects of climate change don’t have time to deny it.”

A state-commissioned climate change report from 2010 arrived at the same conclusion:

“Maine communities and people will be unequally affected by climate change—often because some already face otherwise unrelated challenges. Among these vulnerable populations are elders, children, indigenous people, the disabled and handicapped, refugees, migrants and low income groups [...] Many of these groups have less access to information and resources that would otherwise allow them to be proactive in preparing for climate-related epidemics, natural disasters, weather events and associated health risks.”

LePage does not mention the urgency of climate change adaptation in his veto, but he has denied climate change in the past, based on comments he made before becoming governor. “I just don’t know how severe it is and I’m not sure how much we as human beings contribute to it,” he said as mayor.

The vetoed bill would have required state agencies, particularly the Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry, to plan for climate change adaptation, which has stalled under the LePage administration.

As governor, LePage has repeatedly fought against what is one of the fastest growing industries: clean energy. He appointed an anti-environment corporate lobbyist to head the Department of Environmental Protection and has fought renewable energy targets and increased energy efficiency. In fact, he once happily accepted an award for obstructing offshore wind.

Despite LePage’s efforts, clean energy has had remarkable success in Maine. The nation’s first floating wind turbine was recently deployed there, while the state generated an impressive 187 GWh of electricity from its wind sector in a single month and employed 600 workers at peak construction.

LePage’s unpopularity in Maine appears to be finally catching up to him: After the legislature successfully overrode his veto of the budget, LePage admitted he may not seek a second term.

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12 Responses to Maine Governor Vetoes Bill Moving State Toward Climate Change Adaptation

  1. Dennis Tomlinson says:

    Who has read “Catch-22″, and is old enough to remember Lepage’s Mucilage Glue? From Heller’s classic:

    “Yossarian sidled up drunkenly to Colonel Korn at the officers’ club one night to kid with him about the new Lepage gun that the Germans had moved in.
    ‘What Lepage gun?’ Colonle Korn inquired with curiousity.
    ‘The new three-hundred-and-forty-four-millimeter Lepage glue gun,’ Yossarian answered. ‘It glues a whole formation of planes together in mid-air.’…”

  2. Doug Bostrom says:

    I always find myself wondering how a person who can’t manage a single metabolism is supposed to manage an entire state.

  3. Zimzone says:

    Turn LePage, Maine.
    (Apologies to Bob Seger)

  4. Nell says:

    What’s he going to tell his grandkids when Maine gets hammered by a super-storm?

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      That it’s all the ( fill in your favourite Rightwing scapegoat, either ‘Green extremists’, ‘God-less Gays’ or ‘One World Communists’ perhaps)fault.

  5. fj says:

    He is doing great harm and must step down for the greater good.

  6. It is sad to see someone trying to hold back progress; however, I like the statement “Despite LePage’s efforts, clean energy has had remarkable success in Maine.” It is good to see that the people are still pushing forward even though their governor is not up with the times.

  7. Christopher Yaun says:

    Please report on the following:
    - Maine has a program to research and invest in offshore wind.
    - Maine launched it first prototype floating wind turbine recently, Two more follow.
    - Maine and New Hampshire both participate in RGGI.
    - NH just passed legislation to fund research in sea-level rise.

  8. John McCormick says:

    Yes, it sure looks like he enjoyed that one.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      He may, indeed, be ‘budding-off’ to reproduce his type. A solemn moment, caught for ‘posterity’.