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.
: News Features
, Natural Resources Council of Maine, Occupy, East-West Highway, More