Lost in discussion over Gov. LePage’s plan to revise Maine’s environmental regulations, which he says are too stringent for business, has been that businesses are offering nothing in return for the governor’s gesture.

LePage’s controversial proposals are based, in part, on examples cited by businesses during his red tape forums across the state. He wanted to know in detail what rules have stifled businesses from creating jobs.

Businesses, to their credit, left few details unsaid. And now that the governor has released his first round of regulatory relaxation, he has sparked hosannas from the business community — especially those whose bureaucratic concerns were specifically addressed — and derisive howls from environmentalists.

We are pro-business and pro-environment; they’re not mutually exclusive. We also tend to agree with the governor that some rules and regulations on the books have unfairly pitted one against the other. LePage is not wrong in pursuing balance; balance is harmony and harmony is good.

Yet the governor has not struck balance with his proposal. being so relentlessly pro-business in this first salvo, he is provoking Maine conservationists and preservationists alike by threatening to swiftly undo years of carefully crafted environmental policies. He is the governor and he can do that.

It doesn’t mean he should do it, however, especially without any clear public benefit to the action. Once rules are repealed and protections removed — some of which Republicans did vote to enact, by the way — what do we get for it?

So far, no business interest has committed to create Maine-based jobs in return for these regulatory rollbacks. Nor has LePage attempted to exact a promise to do so.

There is quid, but no pro quo. For example: Sen. Tom Saviello, R-Wilton, has introduced legislation to allow for more development options on sand dunes, largely because it would mean an existing Wells-based hotel could expand. The same idea has cropped up in LePage’s regulatory revisions.

Before this rule is changed, however, it makes sense for the hotel to commit to creating jobs or, at the very least, see the now-prohibited project through to fruition once it is allowed. Exacting confirmed benefits for Maine’s people — i.e., jobs and investment — would help make LePage’s signature regulatory reform agenda much more palatable.

After all, the governor was elected for his business acumen. He should be unafraid to define the bottom line. Unclear outcomes are only one problem with how LePage, and a new legislative committee, are managing the effort of regulatory reform.

Lawmakers charged with implementing the governor’s proposal are now traveling around the state to solicit public comment, yet the full scope of LePage’s agenda remains unknown. Democratic lawmakers on the Select Committee on Regulatory Fairness and Reform say their hearings (the next is today in Machias) have a ready-fire-aim quality, which is true.

The hearings could have waited until the full slate was released. Also, the governor’s reform proposals are seemingly a meld of rules revisions, regulatory tweaks, statutory changes, agency actions and executive orders into one unwieldy list. If the intent is reducing bureaucracy, this is an inauspicious beginning.

Overall, this endeavor highlights some worrisome characteristics of the LePage agenda so far: The establishment of broad goals without a clear means for accomplishing them, plus a commitment to have government simply do less, with the expectation the private sector will provide a greater return.

submitting these rule revisions, and the ones yet to come, the governor is making his willingness to help business quite clear.

He should be just as clear about how this effort will work and how it stands to benefit Maine people, through the creation of jobs, increased investment in our state, and an improved quality of life.