Environmental Protection Deemed “Anti-Business”
AUGUSTA – Gov. Paul LePage today ordered the destruction of the state office building that houses the Department of Environmental Protection, citing complaints that the agency has a “one-sided” agenda of protecting natural resources at the expense of business.
“When you walk in the door, you get an immediate impression,” said LePage’s spokesman, Dan Demeritt. “It’s very one-sided. The governor works for all the people of Maine, not just the ones who like to drink clean water.”
The governor’s office released a faxed complaint from “a secret admirer,” very similar to the one that sparked controversial removal of murals from the Department of Labor.
“Many of the paintings in the hallways depict streams, mountains, and forests in their undisturbed natural splendor,” the complaint reads. “This is unacceptable. Can you imagine how a paper industry official must feel having to see these images in a taxpayer-funded building?”
Demerrit said LePage originally ordered the artwork removed from the DEP hallways, but quickly realized that the building, itself, and everyone working in it, “represent an even greater level of disrespect for our state’s rich history of clear-cutting timber, overfishing the ocean, and dumping industrial waste into rivers.”
Throngs of protesters, most of whom had just returned home from protesting about the labor murals, got right back in their cars and sped to Augusta all over again upon hearing the news of the DEP’s fate.
“This is just unacceptable,” said Bonnie Krause, 47, of Blue Hill, standing with dozens of cohorts as they discussed taking up permanent residence near the state capital for the next 3 1/2 years. “Don’t we have better things to be worrying about than whether the idea of protecting some endangered beaver offends the CEO of Plum Creek?”
The protesters, so angry that not a single one even chuckled at the use of the word “beaver,” were not appeased by the governor’s offer to donate the building, considered an historic representation of 20th-century architecture, to a museum.
“Honestly, who goes to art museums anymore?” said Krause.
As news of LePage’s order spread through the capital, reaction was mixed. Republican lawmakers said they supported the move; Rep. Andre Cushing of Hampden suggesting DEP officials might become “more responsive” to the needs of industry if forced to work without desks or offices.
Workers at the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife could be seen frantically scrambling to hide or cover up anything that didn’t look like a plain wall, then desperately emailing their résumés to similar agencies in other states.