Climate report was on DEP's website

The Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting last week reported that the Maine Department of Environmental Protection had removed a climate change report from its website in December, 2011.

A DEP spokesman said this week that the report was restored in April, 2012, at the request of a citizen. The Center interviewed DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho about the report's status in June, 2012, at which time she did not say it had been restored to the website.

Meanwhile, the Sun Journal criticized the DEP and Commissioner Aho in an editorial last Sunday, saying her excuse of lacking computer space "had bogus written all over it."

Spokesperson Samantha Depoy-Warren said the report was originally eliminated as part of an effort to streamline the department's website and improve its navigation.

It was restored to the site when a citizen requested that it be and, indeed, it can be found there today.

So, we temper our criticism of the DEP and Commissioner Aho a bit in light of the correction.

But the larger point remains uncontested: The department two years ago stopped a planning process to help Maine communities prepare for rising seas and other climate changes.

The DEP, in a letter this year to the Legislature, said all stakeholders should continue working off the 2009 report and "The limited resources of all stakeholders should be targeted toward continued implementation, rather than further document development."

Of course, "document development" was not the goal of further planning, it was to find ways to enact the original plan.

The DEP feels its approach is sufficient, while some of the people involved in the original effort say it is both inefficient and ineffective.

Time will tell which side was right.

rrhoades@sunjournal.com

The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and the editorial board.

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Comments

Bob Woodbury's picture

When will Camden...

...disappear?

MICHAEL LEBLANC's picture

Links, restored or always there.

If you are referring to the 2010 report, here are the links I found on the DEP site:

People and nature, Adapting to a Changing Climate
Summary of the Report

Here's a follow-on from early this year:

Evaluating Climate Change Adaptation Options

This last seems to indicate that a good deal is going on, so it might be a little premature to complain about inaction. A cynical person might be tempted to speculate that complaints are based on which political party was in charge over the past two years.

A quick scan of the report suggests that it's a way of eradicating unemployment in Maine, as just about every person in the state would be employed on commissions and monitoring groups. Of course, it begs the question: How do we pay for it?

There aren't too many answers to that question, but I was surprised to find this entry in section 3 "Findings": Maine should avoid unfairly passing the financial burden of inaction to future generations. Wow! No bonds? But that would mean ...

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