The wood frog, the blue-spotted salamander, the blanding’s turtle — how cool when we see them on our property?

Unless, of course, we hope to turn that lot into a new tanning salon.

Tuesday, during a red-tape audit meeting at the University of Southern Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn College, Gov. Paul LePage said he hopes to revisit the state’s vernal pool regulations adopted in 2007.

The rules put the burden on developers to determine whether a development will disrupt “significant” vernal pools or forested land within a 250-foot radius.

Over the past two decades, scientists have increasingly come to understand how important the pools are to the “circle of life” necessary to maintain healthy forests and wildlife populations.

The pools are intermittently wet, usually during the critical breeding period for small aquatic creatures and insects. Often, they are dry part of the year.

While the “polliwogs” may not seem important to some, they are a critical source of food for larger birds and animals, including foxes, raccoons, minks, egrets and herons.

Only a third to a half of the state’s vernal pools are significant. One problem for developers is that there are few maps to show where they are located.

Several forward-thinking communities — including Brunswick, Falmouth, Orono and Scarborough — have mapped, or are mapping, their vernal pools.

They will be ready when developers come knocking.

It would be a shame, and probably illegal, to “ignore” the rules, as the governor suggested Tuesday. But the rules may be worth revisiting to see how they are working after three years.

The biggest hang-up seems to be determining what’s a vernal pool and what isn’t. The testing can only be done in May or June, so if a project gets rolling in July, it may have to wait a year for approval.

Perhaps more can be done to speed this process, or towns and developers can test prospective sites before projects are proposed.

If there is a proposal to suspend the vernal pool rules, Maine people deserve to know exactly which projects, and which types of projects, have been delayed or blocked by the vernal pool regulations.

Republicans were swept into office on the promise of restoring Maine’s economy and creating new jobs.

But we doubt Mainers want to see pointless sprawl development that does little to provide new jobs or move our economy forward.

Is a factory or manufacturing facility unable to build because of a vernal pool? It might then be important to expedite the process or even exempt that project.

On the other hand, is it worth trading the forests and wildlife in our community for another big-box retailer or burger joint?

Is that true economic development or simply more sprawl that trades jobs at long-time local companies for jobs with giant corporations that simply export our dollars to their shareholders?

Are we killing a vernal pool and its inhabitants so a developer can take cheap land and turn it into another seasonal camp, or are we doing it for something that creates jobs and true economic development?

That should be the yardstick.

Balancing economic growth with prudent land management isn’t easy, but it is possible.

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