Governor Mills yesterday announced 12 new Land For Maine’s Future projects that protect wildlife habitats and working lands and that preserve public access to Maine’s beautiful outdoors. The list includes Reed Deadwater, the state’s largest conservation project to protect deer wintering habitat to date.

The announcement comes as Paul LePage feuds with the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine (SAM), a former ally. LePage received an incomplete grade on SAM’s 2022 election guide after he withdrew his questionnaire and accused the organization of being corrupt.

During his time in office, LePage undermined the Land for Maine’s Future program and held up conservation projects around the state, prompting SAM to say that “once-in-a-lifetime investments in rural Maine jobs and wildlife are drawing dangerously close to collapse” because of LePage.

Earlier this week, LePage also got into a fight with Maine farmers during a candidate forum, showing that he is still prone to fighting people—not problems—and undermining his claim that he’s changed.

“For eight years, Paul LePage fought tooth and nail to block popular conservation projects, and this latest fight with SAM shows he hasn’t changed one bit,” said Drew Gattine, Chair of the Maine Democratic Party. “As a sportswoman, Governor Mills understands that Mainers’ livelihoods are linked to our state’s precious natural resources and the beauty of our outdoor environment. We can’t put Maine’s lands back in the hands of a governor who doesn’t care about conservation.”

After taking office in 2019, Mills, an avid angler, took action to shore up protections for Maine’s public lands after LePage ignored them. Yesterday’s announcement brings the total number of new Land for Maine’s Future projects under her watch up to 37. Mills also worked with Democrats in the legislature on a bipartisan proposal to refund the conservation program through one of the largest cash infusions for conservation in Maine’s history. The investments come as record numbers of people are visiting Maine’s outdoors, and applications for conservation projects are surging.