An end run around the Legislature?

Last year the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development helped draft LD 1473, a bill to ease or eliminate building and energy codes for all land-based aquaculture operations. The Mills administration was so eager to do the industry’s bidding that it deemed the legislation an “emergency bill.” Big Aqua must have thought it won the lottery.

On April 22, 2021, The Republican Journal ran an article on LD 1473 entitled: “Governor’s emergency bill raises concern among Nordic opponents,” and in an April 26, 2021, email obtained under the Maine Freedom of Access Act, Robert Howe, of the lobbying firm Howe Cahill, sent the RJ article to Thomas Abello of Mills’ office. Later that day, Abello sent the article to DECD’s Kate Foye.

In her reply to Abello, Foye wrote that Rich McCarthy of Whole Oceans, which proposes to build a land-based industrial fish farm in Bucksport, “now thinks we might be able to solve this problem without legislation.”

That’s nice. Nothing like cutting out the Legislature when the safety of Mainers is on the table.

Abello replied: “Would have been nice to know before the bill got submitted.” Even nicer would be a state government that operates openly, in full view of all Mainers affected by major industrial projects.

Foye responded: “Yeah. Please don’t get me started. Have more to say, but this will get FOAA’d.”

Gee, how very inconvenient for state workers working behind the scenes to bypass Maine building and energy codes. But hey, what do we Mainers know about what’s good for our building safety and energy use? After all, we’re only being asked to pay for the CMP expansion that would be needed for Nordic Aquafarms’ massive energy use.

Lawrence Reichard


Opposes Patten’s ‘program’

I’m writing to discuss inaccuracies and misleading statements contained in an opinion column in the Republican Journal of Jan. 27. The headline of the column was “Getting with the program,” its putative topic the messaging and perception problems of Democrats at the levers of power in our current government.

With an irony that may not have been intentional, the opinion writer detonates a disinformation smoke bomb in the very first sentence by calling up the specter of the Deep State. This phrase is a weaponized shorthand for the idea that some shadowy cabal of unaccountable bureaucrats is really in charge. Using it distorts perception.

The column stipulates that the Democratic Party in general and the Biden administration in particular is hobbled by a rambling indecisiveness that pervades both the legislative and executive branches. Helpfully, the opinion writer cites an unnamed Russian official who has purportedly congratulated the columnist for his own party’s ability to avoid this lack of good old-fashioned plain-spoken resolve. “We like you Republicans,” the official reportedly said.

To this reader, that statement is a bit of a departure from the Republicans I once knew – the famously hawkish John McCain comes to mind. I don’t think the Russians liked him very much.

The opinion writer cites polling data that Americans are worried about dysfunctional governance. Conveniently, the column avoids mentioning that the Republican Party has fallen to an authoritarian cult of personality which has abandoned governance entirely and exists to lie, obstruct and to amplify their relentless drumbeat of lies. The formerly grand old party has twisted itself to pursue nefarious ends; to suppress and deny American citizens life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness with their bizarre and criminally insane actions and behavior. The columnist pretends that Republicans have little to no governing power whatsoever.

The opinion writer cites the dangers inherent in an implied desire of Democrats to overregulate American life. Specifically, in this case, to enact federal legislation to protect and ensure voting rights for all citizens, but here he refers to the effort by the insinuating term of “federalized elections.”

Bah. Humbug!

Victoria Olson