The Maine Senate confirmed Thursday, Jan. 25, the controversial appointment of a Nestle Waters manager to serve on the citizen board that oversees environmental protection in the state.

The Senate voted 18-15 to support the Environment and Natural Resources Committee's endorsement of Mark Dubois for the Board of Environmental Protection. Only a two-thirds or greater vote of the Senate in opposition can override a committee endorsement on a nomination.

Gov. Paul LePage had nominated Dubois. The House does not vote on nominations by the governor.

State Sen. David Miramant, D-Camden, voted to override the endorsement, while Republican Sens. Dana Dow of Waldoboro and Michael Thibodeau of Winterport backed Dubois.

"Putting the fox in the hen house is the perfect analogy," Miramant said. "This is not a place for a Nestle employee to be. He can't be independent."

The Board of Environmental Protection is a seven-member panel that develops major substantive rulemaking, reviews certain license applications, decides on appeals of the commissioner's licensing and enforcement actions, and recommends changes in the laws to the Legislature.

Dubois, a Falmouth resident, is the local natural resources manager for Nestle Waters, which pumps and bottles Maine water taken from sources in seven Maine towns under its Poland Springs brand.

Miramant said Dubois would have too many conflicts of interest to be able to serve.

Also confirmed to the BEP Jan. 25 was Susan Lessard, who served as town manager of Vinalhaven from 1993 to 2000. Her nomination was backed 33-0. She has served previously on the board and was its chair in 2010.