You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Sierra Club backs Michaud in Maine governor’s race

PORTLAND, Maine — The Sierra Club is endorsing Democrat Mike Michaud over independent Eliot Cutler in the governor’s race, announcing a yearlong education effort that will probably be backed by spending from the national group with a goal of preventing Republican Governor Paul Le- Page from winning a second term, the group said Monday.

The earliest-ever gubernatorial endorsement by Sierra Club Maine reflects how lines are being drawn earlier than ever as candidates and their supporters try to shape the three-way race.

Continue reading below

‘‘We’d like to rally our troops early,’’ said Melissa Walsh Inness, political team chairwoman for the environmental group with 8,000 members and supporters across the state.

The race presents some stark contrasts on environmental policy. LePage, for example, opposes wind energy because of its expense, while Michaud wants to boost green energy. In fact, Michaud wants to cut reliance on heating oil in half — from today’s level of 70 percent to 35 percent — by the year 2030.

Cutler has his own environmental record that dates to his days helping Senator Edmund Muskie shape the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act and later environmental work as an attorney. Both Michaud and Cutler say a clean environment is key to Maine’s future and economic development.

The Sierra Club’s endorsement came down to Michaud vs. Cutler, and the Sierra Club made it plain that LePage wasn’t in the mix.

LePage did not even bother to fill out a survey or responding to a request for an interview, the environmental group said.

Brent Littlefield, LePage’s senior political adviser, said the administration levied the second-largest environmental fine in Maine history for an oil spill, underscoring the administration’s environmental commitment and providing proof that the ‘‘endorsement is about liberal politics, not protecting Maine’s environment.’’

Ted O’Meara, spokesman for Cutler, said the Sierra Club’s endorsement came as no surprise because it generally backs Democratic candidates.

Michaud said he first ran for office in the Legislature more than 30 years ago to clean up the Penobscot River, which was being polluted by the paper mill where he worked.

‘‘I’ve been fighting for common-sense environmental policies ever since then. Back then I learned an important lesson: both the environment and business can coexist. It’s in everyone’s best interest to protect our natural resources,’’ he said.

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.