K. Pease: Headline distorted the truth

In the Sun Journal June 20, there appeared a factual article, written by Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, regarding the history and subsequent demise of LD 616. The article was accurate but the headline, “Bill to limit wind farms strikes out,” was not only off-topic, it was wrong.

LD 616 was a citizens’ bill originating from my community. I consulted on the bill, testified in support of it, attended a work session and wrote several letters attempting to educate Maine’s legislators about the measure. I was in the Senate chambers when the bill was effectively killed by Democratic leadership. I was interviewed for, and quoted in, the story the Sun Journal published.

I can say without hesitation that LD 616 was not a "bill to limit wind farms." LD 616 was a citizens’ rights bill — period.

In 2008, less than 1 percent of rural Maine citizens were stripped of a right still held by every resident of a municipality and every resident of an unorganized territory or plantation not inside the expedited permitting area.

LD 616 would have given disenfranchised Mainers a mechanism to have equal rights restored. The passage of LD 616 would not have barred wind development from those communities. It would have simply restored a right to community participation that more than 99 percent of Maine residents still enjoy.

Such misleading headlines epitomize why a simple citizens’ rights bill was killed. How can citizens hope to be heard when the boldest print and the most powerful voices distort the truth?

Karen Bessey Pease, Lexington Township

Editor's note: LD 616, if passed, would have removed Carrying Place Township, Concord Township, Highland Plantation, Lexington Township and Pleasant Ridge Plantation from the expedited permitting area for wind energy development under the jurisdiction of the Maine Land Use Planning Commission.

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Comments

Jason Theriault's picture

Splitting hairs

I'm not saying I disagree or that that I am on one side or another, but your argument that this is a citizen's rights bill is like saying the Civil War was about states rights.

The whole reason for expedited permitting was to speed wind farm development. The only reason people are against expedited permitting is because of Wind Farms.

And the result of LD 616 passage would have been less wind farms.

So it is about limiting Wind Farms.

MARK GRAVE's picture

"How can citizens hope to be

"How can citizens hope to be heard when the boldest print and the most powerful voices distort the truth?"

More money I guess.

Alan Woods's picture

Name names!

So who were the elected representatives who voted NOT to restore this right to the citizens?

There may be little we citizens can do at this point with regard to LD 616, but we can vote the scoundrels out of office.

Equally important, which representatives voted in favor of LD 616? Citizens of Maine should thank them for their morality and courage.

Alan Michka's picture

For the record...

The Senate vote (19-16) that ended any chance of restoring citizen rights this session was mostly along party lines. Every Democratic Senator, with the exception of Sen. Patrick from Rumford, voted to further delay, and perhaps kill any possibility of these citizens getting their rights back - we're in our sixth year without them now. Stalling has emerged in the last two legislatures as the tactic of choice for those legislators who want to maintain the status quo in the face of widely recognized shortcomings in current law.

The House passed the bill 89-49. In this vote, a NAY vote was for the fairer, more desirable version of the bill. A YEA vote was for an unfair, bad version written by the Natural Resources Council of Maine. The NRCM is working hard to be sure that citizens in these areas DO NOT get their rights back. Fortunately, the NAYs prevailed and the better version of LD 616 moved ahead.

Here's a link to the House roll call vote if you want to see who voted YEA to continue limiting citizens rights: http://www.mainelegislature.org/LawMakerWeb/rollcall.asp?ID=280047148&ch...

Mike DiCenso's picture

Kaz is right again

A more accurate headline might have been "Citizens' Rights Bill Quashed By Dems"or " Mainers' Rights...Unimportant?"

Karen  Pease's picture

But one more correction....

The editor's note isn't accurate, either. And once again, the inaccuracy is in bolder print than the facts.

The passage of LD616 would not have removed those communities from the EPA. Passage of LD616's Majority Report would have established a mechanism for those communities to apply for removal, once LURC adopted rules governing removal of specific areas from the EPA.

The language of the bill can be found here:

http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=HP0435&item...

Sigh...

Karen  Pease's picture

Thank you

Thanks to the Sun Journal for printing this letter. It is never pleasant to be criticized or corrected and their willingness to publish this shows integrity on their part. I've been told by those in the business that writing headlines is one of the toughest aspects of journalism. Thank you, SJ, for allowing me to correct that June 20th headline.

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