Bill Beardsley, Commissioner of Conservation

March 1, 2012 -- I had breakfast with Bill Beardsley, Commissioner of the Department of Conservation. Dr. Beardsley was the President of Husson University from 1987 when it was a nursing school and was $11.5 million in debt, until 2009, retiring from what had become, under his leadership, a very successful college. He ran for governor in 2010, and now serves under Paul LePage, who won that election.

He talked about the new LURC bill, the opt-out, why LURC members aren't the same as czars, and why the county form of government is not, in his view, something we should do.

"For 40 years, I think the emphasis of LURC -- in legislature, in statute, in the administration and philosophies -- has been that LURC is to preserve and protect the great Maine woods.It doesn't deal with the economy. It doesn't deal with economic vitality. It doesn't deal with poverty. It doesn't deal with people. It doesn't deal with viability of small communities and service centers. It deals with protection and preservation."

"…the average family income of the…big LURC counties of Pisquatiquis, and Somerset, and Aroostook, and Washington is about…$28,000, while the family income in Maine is about $48,000, the family income in New Hampshire is $60,000…"

**I apologize. The recorder was sitting on top of a VERY wobbly table, and that is the strange sound you hear throughout this interview. In the future, I will ensure that this problem doesn't crop up again. **

Listen to part 1 of the interview here:

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Part 2 of our discussion centers on the merger which combines the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources with the Department of Conservation and why that merger makes sense.

"The other little thing that's part of the merger indirectly is that there's another bill that's going to be moving part of State Planning over into this new department. And what it does is, the State Planning people that deal with land use in organized towns, if it moves over the way it's planned…our LURC land use planners and the organized town planners would all be on the same floor in the same building…you've got a common database." 

Listen to part 2 of the interview here:

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Bill's official web page is at the Department of Conservation on

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