With the new governor and Legislature, Maine is finally poised for progress on pressing issues like climate change, groundwater protection and renewable energy. However, I’m alarmed at Jerry Reid’s nomination as head of the Department of Environmental Protection (“Mills picks attorney for environmental protection chief,” Jan. 1).

Reid sided with polluting corporations in Penobscot Nation v. Mills. Therefore, despite his considerable experience, he doesn’t exemplify the qualities Maine needs in the person charged with protecting the water our very lives depend upon. Intentionally or not, he worked to advance the interests of polluting intervenors in that case, making for an unseemly appearance of conflict of interest.

I also believe that improving state-tribal relations is long overdue, and in the best interest of all Maine people. As Penobscot Ambassador Maulian Dana said at Gov. Janet Mills’ inauguration, “The Wabanaki Nations of Maine, the Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot are not just the indigenous people but the carriers of the truth of these lands and waters.”

Reid opposed the Penobscot Nation in court, misrepresenting their history and traditional fishing practices. His assertion that Penobscot fishing was land based rather than water based would be laughable were it not so profoundly disrespectful and so alarmingly divorced from fact. His confirmation would be counterproductive both to improving relations and to pursuing the very best environmental policies, which would be enhanced by better state-tribal collaboration.

Please tell your state senator and members of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee that Maine deserves a DEP head who hasn’t advocated for polluting interests and against the Penobscot Nation.

Katherine Rhoda


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