AUGUSTA — In a radio address released to the media Wednesday, Gov. Paul LePage called on the Natural Resources Council of Maine to meet with him about job creation.

Last week, leaders of the NRCM, the state’s largest and one of its oldest nonprofit environmental organizations, were critical of LePage for negative letters he sent to NRCM donors asking them to reconsider their support.

In his missive, LePage said the NRCM had supported some legislation that was killing job-creation efforts in Maine and opposed other legislation he believed would create jobs.

Lisa Pohlmann, the NRCM’s executive director and one of the recipients of LePage’s letters, said the governor’s letter amounted to taxpayer-funded harassment of the group’s members. She said LePage’s record on the environment was the worst of any governor in the past 40 years.

In his radio message Wednesday, LePage said he had written another letter to Pohlmann.

“I invited her to meet with me to discuss how we can work together to conserve our environment while allowing the economic development that will create good jobs for Mainers,” LePage said.

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He added, “I’m not talking about short-term jobs for workers to install a couple of solar panels on your neighbor’s roof at our expense. I’m talking about long-term, good-paying career jobs for Mainers that will lift them and their families out of poverty.”

LePage and the NRCM have been at odds over a variety of issues including recently failed legislation that would have bolstered the state’s solar industry.

“I doubt Lisa Pohlmann knows how I feel about the environment,” LePage said, “and I’m sure she has no idea how long I worked in the forest industry.”

LePage said he’s not against protecting the environment or the state’s scenic beauty.

“However, we cannot keep saying no to any economic activity that would allow rural Mainers to prosper,” LePage said. “We cannot let them wallow in poverty with no way out.”

In a statement Wednesday, Pohlmann said she received the second letter and was prepared to meet with LePage. She noted a 2011 roundtable on the environment that LePage participated in with about 500 people from Maine in attendance.

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“He came, he listened, he delivered a confrontational statement in response to the presentations, and then three days later released a radical 63-point environmental rollback agenda that would have weakened or eliminated nearly every one of Maine’s most important environmental laws,”Pohlmann said. 

Pohlmann said she was pleased to hear LePage tout the state’s scenery as the best in the nation in his radio address.

“We are not aware that he has ever said that before,” Pohlmann said. “Over the past five years, we have disagreed with the governor’s false notion that Maine needs to dismantle its environmental laws in order to enhance our economy. It’s just not true. A strong economy, clean environment and healthy people go hand in hand — and Maine people know that.” 

Peter Steele, LePage’s director of communications, did not immediately confirm that Pohlmann had accepted LePage’s invitation to meet with him.

Steele said a public records request made by the NRCM to determine how much the state spent sending letters to NRCM donors was being fulfilled.

He said 200 letters were mailed out via first-class postage and only a few hours of staff time were devoted to researching addresses and preparing the letters.

“The cost and time were infinitesimal compared to the millions of dollars and years of effort NRCM has spent to deny Mainers the opportunity to get good-paying jobs,” Steele wrote in an email.

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