Monday, July 29, 2013

LePage administration proposes weakening anti-smog regulations

A couple of Maine-related updates that intersect with investigative projects I've done in recent months:

LePage administration and smog: As I report in tomorrow's Portland Press Herald, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection has been quietly seeking to repeal some anti-smog requirements that effect new or newly-modified industrial facilities. Environmentalists are crying foul; the administration says it will be good for the economy. No public hearing has been scheduled, the public comment period ends tomorrow, and the US Environmental Protection Agency (which must approve the change) is allegedly on board with it.

The state DEP was the subject of a five-part, three-day investigation published in the Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram last month. [Update, 8/1/13: some further developments here.]

Steve Bowen's role model in trouble: The Associated Press reports that former Indiana and current Florida education commissioner Tony Bennett -- a pioneer in the effort to assign A-F letter grades to public schools -- cheated on the grading of a charter school run by a political ally. Bennett, a close friend of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, was the keynote at Gov. LePage's education summit earlier this year in Augusta. Education commissioner Steve Bowen described Bennett as his role model in his introductory remarks.

Jeb Bush's Florida-based foundation played a key role in bringing A-F letter grading of schools to Maine, and in ghost writing Maine's digital education and virtual charter school policies.

1 comment:

  1. Bennett is also heavily involved as a member of the Leadership Team and the fiscal agent for PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) the alternative assessment consortium for the Common Core Standards.