For Immediate Release
NRCM Blasts Gov. LePage for Wasting Tax Funds on His Smear Campaigns
Mainers Want Problem-Solving, Not Harassment
The Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM) today called on Governor Paul LePage to stop spending Maine taxpayer money on his smear campaign against NRCM, which has featured an incendiary “Wanted” poster displayed at a Town Hall meeting in March, weekly attacks by the governor on NRCM in speeches and radio interviews, and most recently an unprecedented harassment letter sent May 27, 2016 from the governor to NRCM members.
“Governor LePage is the most anti-environment governor in Maine history. He’s angry because his attacks on Maine’s waters, air, forests, and wildlife have been broadly rejected through bipartisan votes at the State House,” said NRCM Executive Director Lisa Pohlmann. “The steps he’s taking to lash out at a nonprofit organization like NRCM, because we disagree with his misguided agenda, are unprecedented and must stop. The governor should not be using Maine taxpayers’ money for his vendetta against NRCM.”
Today NRCM is sending a Freedom of Access letter to the Governor’s Chief Counsel requesting copies of all documents in possession of the Office of the Governor that mention NRCM. The letter includes a request for all information about involvement of the governor’s staff and the use of taxpayer funds for research into NRCM’s membership, tracking down addresses of NRCM members, and producing and mailing a letter to NRCM members.
“We are going to save Governor LePage some time and effort by sharing his letter with all of NRCM’s 16,000 members and supporters, which include Mainers who live in 488 Maine towns,” said Pohlmann. “This could save the State some postage costs and help ensure that all our members and the public-at-large see how the governor is wasting his time and their money.”
“Last week the governor’s office was scouring the Internet for the addresses of NRCM members so he could send them a harassment letter, but next week he could be sending similar letters to members of any organization that disagrees with his policies. Where does this stop? This tactic harkens back to something that Joseph McCarthy would have done in the 1950s, not a governor of the state of Maine in 2016.”
“In his war against NRCM, the governor is wasting the taxes of hard-working Mainers, including NRCM members, to attack the state’s leading organization that works to protect Maine’s environment and promote a sustainable economy. That is unacceptable behavior,” said Pohlmann.
Over the past two months, the governor has mentioned NRCM by name at least 40 times in more than a dozen speeches, interviews, and Town Hall meetings—more frequently than he has mentioned any other organization in Maine.
“We have clearly gotten under the governor’s skin. He seems fixated on denying everything that has gone wrong on his watch as governor and deflecting blame away from himself. He appears to relish creating enemies and attacking those who disagree with him—and now NRCM is his target. This is no way to govern.”
“But don’t mistake the real message here: the governor is attacking Maine’s environment, pure and simple. Since elected in 2010, the governor has tried to weaken the laws and safeguards that protect Maine’s lakes, waterways, forests, and wildlife. Maine people don’t support his anti-environment agenda, and a bipartisan majority of Maine lawmakers has consistently voted it down,” said Pohlmann. “The governor is wrong and Maine people are right: a healthy environment is the very foundation for our economy.”
“Maine’s environment and economy go hand-in-hand. Over the past 50 years, Maine people, nonprofit groups, businesses, communities, and state lawmakers have worked carefully to create safeguards for Maine’s air, clean water, forests, and wildlife that contribute billions of dollars annually to the Maine economy.”
“The governor may believe we need to wreck Maine’s environment to create jobs, but he is wrong. NRCM will continue to fight against the governor’s radical anti-environment agenda, confident that we represent the overwhelming view of Maine people who love the nature of Maine,” said Pohlmann.
The Natural Resources Council of Maine is a nonprofit membership organization protecting, restoring, and conserving Maine’s environment, now and for future generations.