The pristine wilderness of Maine would make anyone feel more in touch with the environment … unless you're a politician and vested interests with tons of money put pressure on you to undermine green programs like LEED and you cave.

That's the short version of what happened earlier this month. For a while, Maine was building new state-owned buildings to LEED standards. But Maine has lots and lots of trees, and the timber industry there wasn't producing wood that met the LEED-approved Forest Stewardship Council standards. So Gov. Paul LePage signed an executive order in early December that bans the use of LEED in state construction. Now the state will use weaker green building standards, but the timber industry will be happy.

On the plus side, it’s easy to get cranky when dealing with building standards and their many, many rules, and there’s actually been some infighting between certifiers and activists. But a little bit of overt government caving to business interests has really brought green building advocates together.

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