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Poll: Mainers Want Next Governor to be Environment-Friendly

Eight in 10 voters in a new survey support Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, opposed by Gov. Paul LePage.
Eight in 10 voters in a new survey support Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, opposed by Gov. Paul LePage.
June 4, 2018

AUGUSTA, Maine — A new poll shows Mainers are not in sync with Gov. Paul LePage when it comes to the environment. Most voters want to replace him with a candidate who supports land conservation and clean energy when they vote in the primary on June 12.

Pete Didisheim, advocacy director with the Natural Resources Council of Maine, pointed to efforts by LePage to drive a wedge between Maine voters and the environment. He said LePage’s record has has proven fairly anti-environmental.

"He has not supported land conservation and he's opposed to Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument,” Didisheim said. “He supported offshore oil drilling. He's been critical of land conservation and clean energy and has attacked solar. But Maine people are in a very different place."

Statewide, the poll showed Mainers strongly support energy efficiency and clean-energy policies to address environmental issues. The public opinion survey by the Portland-based research firm Critical Insights showed widespread support for political action to address climate change in Maine.

Didisheim said he faults LePage for lack of progress in the solar energy sector. He said the state has lagged behind every New England state, which have policies in place to develop solar for home, small business or larger-grid scales.

"We, maybe, have 20 or 25 megawatts of installed solar,” he said. “Massachusetts has, like, 2,000. We have maybe 500 jobs in the solar sector; Massachusetts has 14,000, Vermont has thousands."

LePage has advised Maine voters to focus on the future, not on the past. And that seems to be what voters are doing. According to the poll, three out of four voters support political action to reduce global warming pollution dramatically by 2030.

The Resources Council of Maine is sending the results of the survey to more than 300 lawmakers and candidates running for office.

Linda Barr, Public News Service - ME