Sunday, January 30, 2011

REFORM OR REPEAL?

Its been quite a week! 
Hearing in Belfast, Maine on Regulatory Reform
Here is the view from my seat at the hearing on regulatory reform in Belfast this past Wednesday.  Nearly 100 people came out to oppose Phase 1 of Governor Paul LePage's regulatory reform agenda (see a video of the meeting here), which would literally roll back 30 years of pollution control and natural resource protections. If you have not read the details, I hope you will.  I really don't like to use inflammatory language, but the truth is this agenda is an extreme one.  I taught environmental law for nearly a decade, and also chaired the Natural Resources Committee for 4 years, and I am familiar with Maine law and the minimum requirements of federal law.  It is alarming to hear the Governor's spokeperson say, as she does in this interview, that we should use Mississippi's hazardous waste rules because they are only 6 pages in length.  I do not want to live in Mississippi. When I googled "Mississippi environment" the Wikipedia entry for "cancer alley" popped up! The BDN and the Times Record have both editorialized against this repeal aganda as moving Maine backward.  As a member of the Legislature's Regulatory Fairness & Reform Committee, I have a strong interest in addressing real reform.  Redundant paperwork or standards, or unresponsive agencies? Then let's address those concerns. Job creation? Absolutely! Let's focus on the recent report of the Maine Chamber of Commerce which did NOT suggest repealing our environmental laws, but rather improving education and access to affordable health insurance. Rep. Bob Duschesne, the Democratic lead on our regulatory reform committee and the immediate past chair of the Natural Resources Committee, put it well in his radio address this weekend. 
Do you share our concerns?  If so, I hope you will contact the Governor and other legislators to let them know. We are off to Machias for the next hearing on these issues January 31 and we'll be in Bangor on February 2 - see the full schedule here.