I shouldn't be astonished at the bias - this is from the man who is holding 25 Red Tape Audit business forums around the state and 1 environmental one. I'm astonished at the crudeness of the math:
- In a state having trouble attracting business at all, how in the world will LePage fill 3 million acres?
- How did he determine that 30% is the right number? By adding up the holdings of his business friends?
- Why not just propose the whole 10 million acres of unorganized territories open?
- Who gets to develop those acres?
- Which acres will be developed?
- Will there be a good old-fashioned land rush, with Paul LePage as sheriff?
This week also saw the announcement that John Malone, of Liberty Media (cable TV) fame and wealth, is buying 980,000 acres of Maine forestland. Perhaps there is a connection, for Mr. Malone says he will continue the land's use for lumbering and recreation, i.e., not development, although he has said nothing about conservation or preservation.
With these two announcements we truly are retreating several hundred years back in Maine's history, into the era of legislative land grabs (c.f., the British, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts), and rich men founding kingdoms (c.f., the Binghams, the Pingrees) in the 17th and 18th centuries. And if we are not careful and watchful, we'll also get another devastation of woods and lakes and rivers ala the 19th and 20th centuries. If only the Republicans would remember that their party was founded by high-minded statesmen like Abraham Lincoln and William Seward, not low-minded businessmen like George Bush and Paul LePage.