The recent disclosure that the Maine Department of Environmental Protection “sided with oil companies and ignored (EPA) attempts to rein in hazardous (air) emissions from (oil) tanks” during the reign of Gov. Paul LePage comes as no surprise to any current or former DEP staffers (“State admits it was wrong to resist federal crackdown on oil tank pollution,” July 28). After all, the DEP commissioner when this policy position was instituted was a former oil industry lobbyist.

Maine’s government is horribly broken. There are virtually no checks and balances between the legislative and executive branches. There is virtually no accountability to the public. The Office of Program Evaluation and Accountability (OPEGA) is a sham created by and for politicians to give the illusion of accountability.

OPEGA, or its replacement, needs to be greatly strengthened and given authority to conduct periodic audits of every program in every state agency, and given the teeth to force corrective actions. Maine state employees must be encouraged to speak up when it is in the public interest to do so. They should not be afraid of losing their job for what is right.

The LePage administration was a disaster, but the systemic problems with government that allowed it to continue unabated persist. There are probably hundreds of similar examples of corruption that the public will never know about.

Where was our Maine Legislature and what is going to be done about it?

 

John Glowa Jr.

South China


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