Hundreds came to rally at the State House on Monday to support our environment and to reject the LePage Administration’s rollback agenda. The energy was powerful as citizens from across Maine crowded the stairwell above the Hall of Flags and packed the rest of the area, most wearing stickers that said “I Love Maine’s Environment” and “Maine’s Environment is Our Business.” Cheers rang out when it was suggested that the LePage proposal was a non-starter and should be shelved with all 63 attempts to gut Maine’s environmental protections. Several business people spoke at the mic about the importance of Maine’s environmental standards for their businesses. They rejected the “pickerel vs. payroll” mentality as a throwback to some bygone era that the vast majority of us have long left behind. The last speaker was Jim Wellehan, owner of Lamey Wellehan, and a long-time believer in a sustainable business model for his company. From recycling waste to installing efficiency lighting, Jim has been investing in Maine’s environment as part of his business plan because he wants to save money and he wants clean air and clean water for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
During the rally I spoke with many passionate citizens. One woman shared that she and her husband moved to Maine to set up their small software business because they wanted to be in a place where the environment was still protected, unlike the large Midwestern city they moved from with its growing sprawl, crime, and environmental degradation. I urged her to write up her story and submit it as a letter to the editor tomorrow. Someone else said to me, “I want to do more.” I suggested that she contact her local legislators who will be dealing with these bills in coming weeks.
This is a time for all of you to tell your stories to the media and to your legislators about why you care so much about the Maine environment. We need to let Governor LePage know just how out of step he is with Maine people with his assault on the environment that supports our economy and our quality of life.