The business community in Maine wants an easier track to travel toward establishing companies that may affect the environment in the state of Maine.

Everyone should agree that business ventures need a fast track to get needed permits and “go ahead” letters from state/federal government agencies. However, people in the private sector, business community and government offices should spend some time with a Google search on the Internet. Just search “Superfund cleanup sites in Maine.”

The cost to taxpayers for cleanup of industrial sites polluted by uncaring, greedy companies is a shameful part of the history of business ventures in Maine (and many other states). Weak laws and regulations with large loopholes and ineffective oversight by government agencies allowed companies to devastate large tracts of land.

Many companies disregarded their responsibility to keep the land and environment clean and usable for future generations. When the governmental authorities began to ask questions and investigate the companies’ activities, the owners/managers grabbed the money and ran. Our tax dollars took another hit.

It is true that some companies made some payments for some of the cleanup activities. However, the costs for investigations, legal fees and continuing oversight should not have been incurred in the first place.

They would not have been incurred if the laws and regulations had been properly written and enforced — and if the companies had behaved like good stewards of the land. The owners/managers would have spent some of their profits to prevent the pollution and damages to the land and air.

The bottom line? Give business ventures the fast track. However, make very sure that those businesses will be held financially responsible for cleanup costs for any and all pollution and/or violations of their permits to operate.

Charles S. Copp


Visualizing government as a business frames a philosophy which is inappropriate for successful governance of social policy, although it may be successful for business.

It’s not a subtle difference; business runs and is maintained and deemed successful if it generates profit sufficient to pay all bills and allow for growth (aren’t we in an anti-growth mentality for government?) and have an actual profit.

Governance “of the people” isn’t for profit; the people are supposed to profit from good governance. But the profit is not confined to monetary return; it can be summed up as a way of life, something that Maine likes to project as something treasured.

The intent of the LePage administration seems to be framing almost everything in a business mentality. One of many recent examples is the Jan. 30 piece on Darryl Brown, where he notes “our customers are the citizens of the state of Maine.”

Words do convey perceptions and intentions. If I am a customer, what is the product that I’m being sold? Is the product fairly priced? What competitor is offering a similar product? What’s the return policy?

Where is the profit for the LePage administration? Is business really the framework or is it a smokescreen for a social philosophy? After all, who wouldn’t support expanding business, and jobs, and profit?

“Buyer beware” needs to be considered as the LePage administration implements a social philosophy under the guise of business.

I’m not opposed to business, but I am opposed to those who believe that governing for a profit is the same governing for the people. And yes, my words do convey my perceptions and intentions and they are not consistent with the LePage pseudo-business model.

Mark Schwartz

South Portland 

Based on my lifetime professional focus on environmental issues in Maine, I am appalled at Gov. Le- Page’s anti-regulatory stances which threaten to turn back the clock on environmental standards that protect Maine’s natural resources and people. Maine’s environmental laws:

1) Allow businesses to be responsible environmental stewards (rather than lose in a dollar-based race to the bottom).

2) Allow businesses to capitalize on the Maine “brand” to enhance their competitiveness;

3) Spur the growth of new industries and new jobs;

4) Restore air and water quality;

5) Reduce our individual exposure to noxious chemicals;

6) Protect human health; and

5) Protect some of our treasured lands for fish, wildlife and people.

When regulatory complexity can be reduced, fine — but don’t “throw the baby out with the bathwater.” In light of urban and suburban sprawl, global climate change and limitations of existing environmental regulations that do not yet adequately protect us, we cannot afford to waste time fighting environmental rollbacks.

Unfortunately, LePage is uninformed enough to believe in the long-discredited false dichotomy of environment versus jobs. His irresponsible proposals include gutting shoreland zoning, destroying LURC, removing vernal pool protections, eliminating protections from toxic chemicals, reducing manufacturer responsibility to recycle toxic wastes, reinstating coyote killing in a misguided attempt to increase deer populations in northern Maine (where deer were never common and where timber companies are predominantly to blame for destroying deer yards), and permitting hunting in lands added to Baxter State Park.

Gee, how many of these absurd, short-sighted attacks and just plain wrong assaults on environmental protection can we fight off?

We must stop the anti-environmental initiatives of LePage, his staff and commissioners from endangering our economy, health and welfare and then direct our energy towards moving Maine forward.

Lois Winter


Mark Ferguson’s Jan. 30 letter to the editor on newspaper sales at his store was a heartfelt, articulate expression of working class frustrations. Unfortunately, Mr. Ferguson has misidentified the enemy.

It is not “suits” or people with “fancy degrees.” It is the new Robber Barons: mostly conservative, right-wing supporters of the Republican Party and their deregulation that created the financial crisis we are now confronting. Their greed is boundless and their cause is successfully promoted by Big Lie radio talk shows and other media.

Mr. Ferguson states that “We are still the backbone of this nation, like it or not and there are lots more of us than there are of you.”

I’m not sure that his characterizations of “we” and “you” are accurate. The suits and people with fancy degrees may be the future backbone of the nation. Maybe they already are.

Teddy Roosevelt and Ida Tarbell ran the Robber Barons of old out of town. It may take a long time for angry and frustrated working class members to realize they need to do the same. That wheel has to be rediscovered.

Harold Nilsson