AUGUSTA –The Environment and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday considered a resolve that would spend $500,000 over four years to study the theory of anthropogenic climate change, also known as global warming.
Rep. William Noon (D-Sanford) introduced L.D. 825 in order to study climate change theory and implement the recommendations of Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). His resolve directs DEP to resume its study on climate change pursuant to a 2009 resolve in preparation for a bill that would be presented to the 127th Legislature.
According to the fiscal note attached to L.D. 825, the resolve would pull $244,447 from General Fund revenues over the next two years and $251,482 for fiscal year 2014-15. The money would be used to hire one full time Public Service Coordinator I and one part-time Office Associate II. The bill would not hire any climate scientists.
The state first hired staff to address the theorized threat of climate change more than a decade ago.
According to records available at MaineOpenGov.org, DEP hired Paul Van Cott in 1997 as a “Climate Change Manager.” Van Cott’s total compensation was more than $65,000.
In 2000, Van Cott was replaced by John B. Wathen as a climate change manager. Wathen started at $51,297 in total compensation, but by 2003, he was pulling down $84,105 — $65,020 salary plus $19,085 in benefits.
That’s a 163 percent pay increase over three years—for “managing” climate change.
Wathen left the lucrative field of climate change management in 2005.
Near the end of 2008, Gary S. Westerman assumed the position of climate change manager and served until Gov. Paul R. LePage nixed the position in 2011.
Since the elimination of the position, Maine’s climate change has gone completely unmanaged, saving taxpayers roughly $80 grand a year.