If one thing has become clear about Maine Gov. Paul LePage's administration, it's that they're eager to please out-of-state corporate interests. As MPBN's Susan Sharon reported last night, the reason the governor's "phase one" deregulatory wish list included a desire to undo the Kid Safe Products Law (and its ban on BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups) was not because the Maine Grocers' Association didn't like it, as the governor's spokesman claimed. The likely suspects: the American Chemistry Association and the national toy industry association, which fought hard to block passage of the law last year.
Who, you might ask, actually did the fighting for the chemistry industry in Augusta? That would be Pierce Atwood lobbyist Patricia Aho, whose client list for 2011 also includes the American Petroleum Institute (a.ka."Big Oil"), drug maker AstraZeneca, the Maine Real Estate and Development Association, Casella Waste Systems, Verso Paper, a wind farm developer and energy company Unitil. (Last year she represented Poland Spring owner Nestle Waters North America as well.)
So guess who LePage is considering to serve as Deputy Commissioner at the Department of Environmental Protection? You got it: Patricia Aho, as the MPBN report revealed.
Betting a pair of my newer socks that Ms. Aho won't be the only corporate lobbyist to find her way into overseeing the industries she represents. (In case you're wondering, these are the Toy Industry Association's lobbyists here in Maine.)
[Update, 2/13/2011: LePage has hired a Preti attorney who represented the Toy Industry Association and Plum Creek as his political advisor.]
[Update, 6/24/2011: Aho has been promoted to acting commissioner of the DEP, and is accused of gutting enforcement of her former patrons in the chemical industry.]