NAPLES – Gov. Paul LePage said he saw how the government infringes on private property rights when he was the general manager of Marden’s and tried to open a new store in an old Walmart in Scarborough.

“They told us what color we could have. They told us what the front would look like. They told us what kind of trees,” he said to a crowd of about 200 people at Lake Region High School on Saturday night.

They were there for a presentation about Agenda 21, a program developed during a United Nations conference in 1992 that promotes the adoption of sustainable development policies and practices.

But Michael Coffman, the featured speaker on Saturday, believes it’s much more than that. It’s an attempt to strip people of their private property rights, part of the progressive effort to undermine the nation’s founding principles, he told the receptive audience.

“I am very, very strong in personal property rights,” LePage said during a question-and-answer session after Coffman’s presentation.

A bill was introduced in the Legislature this session to ban state or local governmental bodies from implementing policies that would infringe on private property rights or further the principles of Agenda 21.

Rep. Ricky Long, R-Sherman, who sponsored L.D. 220, An Act To Ban the United Nations Agenda 21, said the Judiciary Committee has decided to recommend that the bill ought not to pass. According to the Legislature’s website, the bill has not been reported out of committee yet.

Asked Saturday about the bill, LePage said he wasn’t aware of it.

Coffman is the founder of Bangor-based Environmental Perspectives Inc., whose mission “is to sound a warning of the rise of government control and paganism in America through the environmental movement,” according to its website.

Doug Heuiser, a retired Lutheran pastor from Casco, said he and his wife found out they were among “a bunch of people who were concerned about (Agenda 21)” and invited Coffman to come speak.

“What I’m going to be doing today is going to be a little surprising for some of you. Some of you will actually be shocked,” Coffman said in the opening of the presentation.

He told the crowd his purpose was to “help you understand that all of your beliefs aren’t necessarily your own.”

He talked about how the socialist agenda has infiltrated education through the textbooks used in schools. Progressivism, he said, is a “dangerous ideology” that is based on emotion rather than reason.

He said Agenda 21 treats nature as God. The concept of preserving the environment by concentrating development, he said, will bring an end to the American Dream of owning a house by forcing families into apartments.

He showed a map of the Lake Region with all the areas eyed for preservation shaded, leaving little else left.

“People are being used to begin a process to bring a slow death to this nation,” he said.

Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at: 791-6364 or at

lbridgers@pressherald.com