This week, once again, climate change and its frightening consequences are front-page news across the state of Maine. From heightened flooding risks in Bangor and Brewer to sea level rise threatening York County property values to the lobster industry watching its catch move further and further north, climate change is impacting the everyday lives of Maine people. And with the Gulf of Maine warming faster than nearly any body of water in the world and climate change-denier Paul LePage once again campaigning for governor, the worst may still be yet to come.
During his eight years as governor, LePage not only did little to prepare Maine for the climate crisis now unfolding before our eyes, but in fact took a series of actions to make it worse. He repeatedly obstructed efforts to develop clean energy in the state. He put a former oil lobbyist in charge of the Department of Environmental Protection. And he attempted to damage the state’s environment even further, attempting to weaken the state’s anti-pollution laws and signing the state up for a coalition to drill for oil in the Gulf of Maine, in opposition to Maine’s Congressional Delegation and every other East Coast governor.
The Mills administration has done a 180 on LePage’s harmful record. Since taking office, Governor Janet Mills has worked overtime to prepare the state for the effects of the climate crisis. Her administration has introduced multiple state programs, including the Community Resilience Partnership and the Maine Infrastructure Adaptation Fund, which will provide much needed funding to municipalities around the state to protect Maine’s people, land, and businesses from the effects of climate change. Gov. Mills has also taken a series of aggressive steps to curb emissions. Under her leadership, the state withdrew from LePage's oil and gas drilling coalition, joined the U.S. Climate Alliance, and set aggressive carbon reduction goals which it is well on the way to achieving. But with LePage on the ballot this coming November, all this progress and preparation is at risk.
“During his eight years in office, Paul LePage did everything he could to block action to mitigate climate change, and often seemed like he was actively rooting for the impending crisis and the corporations causing it,” said Drew Gattine, Chair of the Maine Democratic Party. “Fortunately, over the last three years, Governor Mills and the legislature have made up for lost time, making significant progress towards protecting our economy, our environment, and our people. With the crisis on our doorstep, we can’t afford to hand the Blaine House keys back to a diehard climate change fan.”