Although the ban was highly popular at the start of the battle, it was beaten down by millions of dollars of fear-inducing advertising by the forest industry (about, of course, jobs). Most Maine politicians, Democrats as well as Republicans — and even the NRCM and Maine Audubon — didn't support the ban (though the Sierra Club did). (Disclosure: the author was involved in the Ban Clearcutting campaign.)

The clearcutting battle demonstrated how, when public fears are raised about jobs — or when more jobs are promised — Democratic politicians are not certain votes for the environment.

There were some Democratic votes last year for relaxing the mining law and for the public funding, to the tune of $300,000, of a Maine Department of Transportation study of the East-West Highway's feasibility, even though Cianbro's Vigue had alleged the highway-corridor was to be created only with private funds.

Until there are well-thought-out and clearly articulated alternative economic plans for Maine's future, however — and perhaps some appealing politicians enunciating them—the environmental movement will always be, fundamentally, playing defense.

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Related: Lawmakers mostly stand up against environmental assault, What are they protesting? Whaddya got?, Looking ahead, More more >
  Topics: News Features , Natural Resources Council of Maine, Occupy, East-West Highway,  More more >
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