Dems want $500k for DEP bureaucrats to study "climate change"

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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.

S.E. Robinson
Maine Wire Reporter
srobinson@mainepolicy.org

1 COMMENT

  1. This has to qualify for the stupid bill of the week award from the Dembarrassing Dembiciles. Instead of wasting the money on the myth of global warming why not use it to assist the Lewiston fire victims or towards the hospital debt.

  2. These egotistical Maine Democrats think they can more intelligently and accurately study “global warming” than the thousands of scientists who have already beat this to death? Climate changes, but man’s infinitesimal effect upon it has been proven again and again. Whose pockets is this money supposed to fill, King Angus – again?

  3. Any discussion of “climate change” needs to begin with the stratospheric aerosol geoengineering that has been going on for decades, also known as chemtrails. Though denied, it is as plain as the stripes in the sky that are NOT contrails.

  4. CO2 increases dramatically over past decade; temps plateau….Nice job managing the faux hysteria for the profit of foreign wind farmers…bye bye carbon traders!

  5. CO2 increases dramatically over past decade; temps plateau….Nice job managing the faux hysteria for the profit of foreign wind farmers…bye bye carbon traders!

  6. Yet another example of Robinson not bothering to dig a little it a matter, but instead writing a baseless smear piece to score political points.

    And judging by some of the comments here, many MaineWire readers don’t bother either. So let me do it for you:

    LD825 would direct the DEP to resume it’s study on how best Maine communities should best deal with the most likely impacts of climate change, such as rising sea levels and resultant storm surges. The study was curtailed by the LePage administration, but was the outgrowth of this study issued in February 2010 (also by the DEP):

    http://umaine.edu/maineclimatenews/files/2011/06/NAT_003_Booklet_6_forWeb_Single.pdf

    Click through and check out page 2, a list of organizations that participated in it. Further on we find:

    Common themes emerged across the boundaries of four working groups that addressed Maine’s Natural Environment; Coastal Environment; Built Environment; and Human and Social Environment. People and Nature presents these within the structure of Strategies and Recommendations, and the reader is referred to that full report for a detailed account. This synthesis addresses seven broad areas to illustrate the interrelations, interdependencies and continuities.

  7. I’m sure we can come up thousands of “worthwhile” spending projects. Right now is not a time to increase state spending. It’s in the hole more than 17 billion dollars. That debt amounts to more than 13 thousand dollars per man, woman, and child. Besides, why another such study when there are many underway, if not in the state of Maine?

  8. What you consider a “spending project” may be of great import to a town whose sewage treatment plant may be put underwater by rising sea levels or higher storm surges. Zoning officials in coastal towns may want to think about requiring new construction methods in areas that may be prone to future flooding, or not allowing new construction at all.

    Studies done in other states have little bearing on the infrastructure needs of Maine. Does Connecticut have 13 foot tides? Does Florida?

    Identifying potential threats and possible solutions is the smart thing to do, but doesn’t automatically lead to funded projects.

    Of course, my initial comment was in regards to Robinson’s smear piece, which states that Democrats want to further study climate change, which is not the case. Most Democrats accept the climate change is happening, and the prudent thing is to plan for it until it can be reversed.

  9. Exactly true. We need to continue to ask people to look up. Discussing climate change without talking about the 100’s of flights above us daily, and the increasing poisoning of our land, food, and wildlife with aluminum and barium is not acceptable.

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