Lisa Pohlmann, who will head the Natural Resources Council, says she hopes both parties will keep backing ‘green’s laws.
by Beth Quimby, staff member
As the new leader of one of Maine’s most influential environmental advocacy groups, Lisa Pohlmann says she will fight any attempts to roll back regulations that protect the environment.
Pohlmann was named Tuesday as executive director of the Natural Resources Council of Maine, succeeding Everett “Brownie” Carson, who will retire at the end of this month after 26 years as executive director.
Pohlmann, who has been serving as the organization’s deputy director, said she intends to continue the council’s focus on restoring Maine watersheds, protecting the North Woods, promoting energy efficiency and reducing toxic chemicals that enter the environment.
She said she also will fight any rollback of regulations that protect the environment. Gov.
Paul LePage has vowed to cut regulations that discourage economic development. Environmental regulations are expected to figure largely in that effort.
“We hear 200 regulations are going to be put on hold for reviews. Our response is, it sounds like more red tape,” said Pohlmann.
The Natural Resources Council of Maine is one of the oldest and largest environmental advocacy groups in the state. Founded in 1959, it has about 12,000 supporters.
It’s the state’s most important environmental advocacy group in terms of policy issues, said Dick Barringer, a professor of community development and public policy at the University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School of Public Service and a former conservation commissioner and state planning director under three Maine governors.
“That makes the executive director’s job a very important position,” Barringer said.
He said Pohlmann is a great choice for the council. Barringer, who once taught Pohlmann, said she is among the top five students among the 1,000 or so he has taught over the years.
“She has terrific values, is extremely intelligent, likable and pragmatic,” Barringer said.
Pohlmann was the council’s board president before she took the deputy director’s job in 2008 to manage the council’s 23-person staff.
Before working for the council, Pohlmann was an associate director of the Maine Center for Economic Policy.
Pohlmann has been involved in protecting the natural character of Moosehead Lake and restoring wild Atlantic salmon and other native fish to 1,000 miles of the Penobscot River watershed through dam removal. She has led the council’s advocacy for federal climate and energy policy.
Pohlmann said that while Maine’s environmental laws may be under attack, they are laws that were supported by both Republicans and Democrats and she hopes bipartisan support will continue.
She said the new political reality has energized the council’s membership.
“We are already experiencing people who are alarmed, communicating more with us and wanting to be more involved,” she said. “That is great.”>/p>