"The State Level War On The Environment"
A frightening Leslie Kaufman report indicates that Maine’s new governor thinks the state suffers from an excess of natural beauty:
Weeks after he was sworn in as governor of Maine, Paul LePage, a Tea Party favorite, announced a 63-point plan to cut environmental regulations, including opening three million acres of the North Woods for development and suspending a law meant to monitor toxic chemicals that could be found in children’s products.
We also learn that Chris Christie thinks “the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act, which preserves more than 800,000 acres of open land that supplies drinking water to more than half of New Jersey’s residents, is an infringement on property rights.” And, indeed, it does sound like that’s a bit of an infringement on property rights. With the purpose, it seems, being to preserve drinking water. Is that the only infringement of property rights that exists in the entire state of New Jersey? Or would it be possible to tackle the state’s anti-density zoning rules rather than its water protection ones?
Indeed, in February it came out that the governor’s “Phase 1” reform list had actually been written by one of the state’s premier lobbyists, Ann Robinson, who heads the lobbying division at Preti Flaherty Beliveau & Pachios, an influential Portland law firm. Robinson, who served as co-chair of LePage’s transition committee, is the registered lobbyist for the Toy Industry Association of America, the drug industry association PhRMA, and other companies that would benefit from the changes. This placed her in the enviable position of being able to ghostwrite the governor’s policies on behalf of her paying clients.
Conservative politicians are so familiar with the “public choice” critique of activist government that they’ve decided to not even bother trying to do things right.