Gov. Paul LePage’s revelation last week that an unnamed company in southern Maine was leaving the state and taking 900 jobs with it was odd, especially since he said he had been sworn to secrecy about it. The tenor of his discussion of the job losses was even more confounding.

The governor showed that, to him, adherence to ideology is more important than actually improving the lives of his fellow Maine residents.

At a town hall meeting in Orono, the governor expressed no sadness or remorse that hundreds of Maine residents soon could be unemployed. He made no mention of his administration trying to stop the potential exodus. His tone, in fact, was almost gleeful. He used the potential impending job losses and a chronicle of recent mill closures to make his long-standing point that high energy prices are driving businesses — and jobs — out of Maine. On Tuesday, the governor said the losses were at two companies and reiterated that energy prices were the reason.

An inquiry about what the governor’s office and other state agencies have done or will do to preserve the 900 jobs was met with an email saying the question betrayed “a basic lack of understanding” of business.

“No governor can do anything to ‘preserve’ jobs or control whether a business stays in the state, moves to another state or packs up and goes to another country,” wrote the governor’s spokesman, Peter Steele.

But LePage has not always felt this way. In August 2014, he blasted the owners of Old Town Fuel & Fiber for announcing the closure of their mill before asking the state for help.

“Let’s sit down and put our heads together and see if we can help in some way,” the governor said after the closure announcement.

And among governors, it doesn’t appear to be a widely held view that states’ chief executives are powerless to influence job preservation and business location decisions. The first thing listed under the National Governors Association’s Center for Best Practices is a report on economic development that highlights the work of governors in numerous states. Best practices include working with universities to commercialize research, improving K-12 education to ensure a talented workforce and providing small business with incentives and access to capital to encourage them to invest in distressed areas.

But none of this is relevant in Maine, according to LePage’s office. Instead, the only policy changes that would help Maine are to lower energy prices and taxes, according to Steele’s email.

LePage is so adamant that lower energy prices are the key to Maine’s prosperity that he cites high energy prices for the closure of mills even when mill management points to other factors.

“Until the Legislature addresses the high cost of energy in Maine, which is a major burden on our manufacturing industry, mills like Lincoln Paper and Tissue, Verso Paper and Old Town Fuel and Fiber will be forced to shut down,” LePage said in a statement in September 2015, when the Lincoln mill filed for bankruptcy.

The Lincoln mill’s co-owner, Keith Van Scotter, on the other hand, blamed a boiler explosion. The mill also faced strong competition in the tissue market. As for electricity, it made most of it on-site through a new turbine system.

Despite this more nuanced reality, LePage repeatedly points his finger at the Legislature. The fault for Maine’s dismal economic prospects, LePage said in Orono, lies squarely with the Maine Legislature, which won’t pass his energy or tax reduction plans.

LePage’s rhetoric, though, belies the reality. In 2013, the Legislature passed a comprehensive energy bill that included the governor’s proposal to use $75 million in electricity ratepayer funds to expand natural gas infrastructure in New England, a top LePage priority. But LePage vetoed it.

Lawmakers overrode the veto after agreeing to another LePage-backed bill to undermine an offshore energy project in the beginning stages. Within months, the company behind that $120 million offshore wind project, Statoil, pulled the plug on its work in Maine.

“Make no mistake, the reason companies leave does not originate in the Governor’s Office,” Steele said in his email. “They come from the failed policies and anti-business climate fostered by liberals over the past 40 years.”

Blaming others and making excuses for not taking action is not leadership. It is abdication. Maine workers deserve better.

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The BDN Editorial Board

The Bangor Daily News editorial board members are Publisher Richard J. Warren, Editorial Page Editor Susan Young, Assistant Editorial Page Editor Matt Junker and BDN President Todd Benoit. Young has worked...