Opponents want to drape turbines in more red tape

Don't tell me you sold all your shares in Red Tape International, the leading producer of the red tape used in government.

Sure, it made sense to sell at the top of the market, knowing every governor in the country has vowed to reduce or eliminate its use, including our own.

Who knew, however, that while the governor was preparing to burn great piles of it on the Blaine House lawn, some legislators would be intent on wrapping more job-killing red tape around a seemingly bright spot in the state's economy.

Perhaps the market for red tape is not yet dead.

Several lawmakers already have submitted legislation designed to slow down and add more steps to locating a wind turbine in Maine.

Several weeks ago, former governor and current wind-power developer Angus King visited our offices to talk about the project he hopes to complete in Highland Plantation.

King came armed with a couple of props in a box, two 6-inch binders stuffed with paper, representing the research his firm has generated to meet state standards and requirements.

The cost of that paperwork: $5 million. That's all money spent before a project is approved or sited, money that would simply be lost by the company's investors if the project does not proceed.

King wasn't complaining about that, simply making a point that wind projects are not spread willy-nilly across the landscape.

The new legislation has not yet taken shape, but it is expected to have the usual components of red tape — more steps, more time and more expense.

It has been filed on behalf of wind-power opponents who really don't care how projects are killed, as long as they are killed.

Ironically, Maine's Wind Energy Act of 2008 was an attempt by Gov. LePage's predecessor, Gov. John Baldacci, to cut red tape, speed up the process and create jobs for Mainers.

It sets up limited areas in Maine where a well-defined process can be used for siting wind projects. In other words, it was designed to cut red tape.

Here's where you can go; here's what you need to do. Simple.

What's happening now is more illustrative than surprising and shows why red tape always multiplies.

Like many issues government handles, this one is contentious. If a legislator or even a constituent doesn't want something to happen, there is always another study, report, hearing or regulation that can be done.

It is always better to have more information than less, right? And the Legislature has always been generous with its red tape.

Time, however, is money. And, of course, money is money. Every new step, new report, new expert or new hearing adds a little delay or expense to a project.

Until, of course, you reach a tipping point where the project becomes unfeasible.

In 2008, Maine made a decision that was, and continues to be, supported by Maine people — push forward with wind power.

If the current Legislature thinks wind power isn't good for Maine, it can repeal the Wind Energy Act.

What it should not do is simply wrap wind power in more red tape.

editorialboard@sunjournal.com

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Comments

 's picture

Gov LePage said something

Gov LePage said something brief, but remarkable. "I will support projects that are commercially VIABLE." That Means, they can build, operate, and PRODUCE reliably without our money. Without ANY of our money. Queequeg you nailed it. The past sixteen years we have had the Gov't profess to the need of our State (investing) in R&D and projects that will "create jobs". Here is the deal, if the Gov't would just do what Gov't is supposed to do, PRIVATE firms would invest in our state WITHOUT the need to "Accept" handouts from us. Wind Power for us is not proven, in some cases it's parasitic. Gov King appears to be hedging his BET with our money. Publish a summary of those burdensome awefull documents. And I'll produce all the documents I have to submit, to maine Revenue, IRS, Maine Labor, Bureau of Statistics and on and on. King is complaining that he is an unpaid clerk for the state of Maine, Well, welcome to the club Angus. Maybe you should have diminished your share while you were governor. Oh, wait, that was done by the previous admin. (not LePage)
The body of your article, though, is a clever attempt at showing a perceived contradiction in the approach to the regulatory environment. You are saying that while wanting to "CUT" red tape, our new republicans are marching out NEW red tape, you are "inferring" the repub s are favoring THEIR projects or maybe attacking (you say it nicely though) projects previously done by the OTHER party . And, you march in the long suffering, misunderstood Angus King. I will not repeat Queequeg's remarks, precient (sp) as they are. Other than I hope you get verified soon. But, it's funny that there is no equivalence in anything your editorial board is saying. None. The regulatory "red tape" described by LePagre is in no way connected to wind power projects. Or any building projects for that matter. Although I am sure Gov LePage will get to it eventually. The regulatory changes have to do with US who are doing business here, and now. It's an attempt To REDUCE my being an unpaid clerk to the State and the Feds. Although while he is reducing, OBama and the feds are increasing, I don't know who will win. So, the Gov is reducing day to day red tape on us, the feds are increasing it. I guess we should sell red tape to Washinton maybe.

 's picture

red tape

I bet the red tape is made in China.

Alan Michka's picture

So much for media objectivity

"It sets up limited areas in Maine where a well-defined process can be used for siting wind projects."

Limited areas? How about two-thirds of the state.

Maybe Angus wouldn't have had to spend so much if he hadn't had to redesign his project due to his bad judgement. And so what if he spent $5 million. Should ANY business be able to buy its way into Maine by spending $5 million?

Red tape? Do you call protecting Maine citizens and their property red tape? Does the Sun Journal even know what is in the bills? It's amazing that they are so adamantly against them without even really knowing. So much for objectivity.

The Sun Journal has shown clearly with whom it's aligned.

 's picture

?

Limited areas are set up? Like 2/3s of the state? Gad. Then the wind energy act reduced the DEP and LURC to shells of their former selves allowing anything acknowledging that there are impacts but they are "not unreasonable". Fill in wetlands? Pay a mitigation fee with tax dollars of course. Do a study? No, just "extrapolate " from another study to ignor the eagles' nests near Upper and Madagascal Lakes. It is insane to let the developers write their own rules which is what the Wind Energy Law did. The legislators should have known better but now have a chance to undo the WORST law ever passed in Maine. Why would your editorial board approve of such folly? Do you want more expensive electricity?

 's picture

vacation land

mountain top homes in Sunday River and Rangeley Lakes are still selling as vacation homes.
These homes need care takers.
Carthage Maine doubled in the last 7 years. It can double again.
Wind Turbines are killing any chance for growth in Maine.
Make sure you do not live with-in 2 miles of a ridge with turbines.
If you have Lake front property, sound travels faster across water.
Call DEp LURC ask them where the projects are sited. Are you a receptor?

 's picture

Is this what we really want?

Tourism is Maine’s biggest economic engine, providing many thousands of jobs, generating eight billion dollars in goods and services and 400 million in tax dollars annually, and it will continue to do so as long as Maine’s natural resources and scenic wonders remain a legendary and iconic draw to those living in crowded, highly developed and less scenic areas. Industrializing Maine’s ridge lines and mountain tops, which basically encompass the last of our unspoiled landscapes on the East Coast, to supply a projected 2 to 3% of our energy needs is fiscally unsound, extremely short sighted and will bankrupt the heart and soul of Maine’s mountains, along with her wildlife, waters and people. Why is this such a wonderful idea?

 's picture

Wow.....

This is one of the most biased and offensive op-eds I've read on the very serious topic of mountaintop industrial wind. And it shows exactly how worried the wind lobby is.

Wow.

Yes, John Baldacci wanted to get rid of red tape for his wind lobby pals. It was job security for this former governor who hopes to keep his 'hand' in the renewable energy field. It was protection for his friends who make millions from our tax dollars. It was self-protection, all the way. They'd suffered a loss at Redington, and the wind lobby wanted to make sure that that did not happen again.

It worked, too, didn't it? Has a single wind developer been denied a permit since that time?

I find it unconscionable that this newspaper expects us to feel bad for Angus King. And has Mr. King really, honestly spent $5 Million dollars? I'd like to see proof-- for just a couple of months ago, he was quoted as having spent $2Million. Could the $5 Million be the triggering number to ensure he receives our subsidy money? Before the editorial board uses figures in the millions of dollars, they owe it to their readers to require proof. And besides... are we seriously supposed to NOT oppose a mis-guided and terribly expensive plan simply because one developer made a poor judgement call and invested in something which is ONLY a good investment due to the government's largesse with tax-payer money? OUR money? Mr' King's partner, Rob Gardiner, stated himself that wind energy could not exist without huge subsidies, and would not support itself. Sorry. I can't raise a lot of sympathy for wealthy individuals who are not, in reality, trying to save the planet, but who are selling Maine's quality of place in order to fill their pockets. I don't intend to sound mean, but that is the honest truth. Mr. King should have thought ahead and considered the independent thinking and common sense of those people whom he led for 8 years.

Why the venom and vitriol in this op-ed? Why would the editorial staff or the publisher have a problem with Mainers trying to work within the system established for us? We were not allowed to have a 'say' before our government decided to foist an expensive and dangerous wind energy plan on the state of Maine. The wind lobby has been brainwashing the public for years. When citizens decided to look into the FACTS about industrial wind, we were stunned. The paltry benefits this plan would provide are greatly overshadowed by the huge negative impacts. Regular citizens, without the wind industry's money for media blitzes and advertising campaigns, have been trying to educate our fellow Mainers. We have few options and outlets. We speak in meetings. We write letters to the editor. We share resources and distribute literature and talk to our neighbor. We ask people not to believe US, but to do their own research. We believe that knowledge is power, and power is something that our industry-controlled government has slowly taken away from us.

Why would this newspaper castigate Mainers for trying to change a policy which we truly believe to be one of the biggest mistakes-- and yes, scams--to come along?

The staff is attempting to sway our new governor, without a doubt. By taking his own desire to cut 'red tape', they are hoping that he and the new Legislature will disregard these protective bills which will be coming up for vote. In my opinion, this is a low blow, eespecially coming from a news medium.

Billions of dollars are at stake. The wind lobby is scared, and they will be stepping up their PR and attempting to scare Mainers into supporting mountaintop industrial wind. Expect to see ads saying that 'wind' will counter the effects of globla warming... something which experts are showing to be a misleading claim. Expect to have them say that wind energy will increase our national security. Poppycock. When does a nation need the most power, and the most reliable power? Where there is an emergency! Increasing our load of unreliable and intermittent and very expensive electricity will certainly not help America protect her borders. Expect the wind lobby to try to make us feel guilty. Frightened. Irresponsible if we don't support their plan, and brave, 'green' citizens if we do. Expect them to tout jobs... temporary construction jobs, and short term local 'booms' during development. Those same 330 construction workers would be kept gainfully employed in repairing our infrastructure, which is needed to bring millions of people to Maine to spend their tourism dollars. Once our iconic mountains are covered with 350 miles of 40 story turbines, those tourist will go elsewhere. This wind plan is self-perpetuated loss for Maine's economy in the LONG-term.

This op-ed is just the beginning. As Mainers see more of these types of anger-filled articles, they can rest assured: the wind lobby and its supporters are getting worried and desperate. Mainers are known for staring down the bullies and doing what is smart, and what is RIGHT. I urge you to educate yourselves on the topic of mountaintop wind energy. The truth will blow you away.

Respectfully,
Karen Pease
Lexington Twp., Maine
www.windaction.org, www.windtaskforce.org, www.highlandmts.org, www.stopillwind.org, www.realwindinfoforme.com, www.windfarmrealities.org ... and many, many more.

 's picture

Perhaps, if the legislature

Perhaps, if the legislature had conducted studies prior to enacting the unprecedented goal oriented law imposing regulation upon an industry that supposedly had become deregulated with the breakup of CMP, this mess wouldn't be taking place. No red tape, but a good old red carpet treatment for wind developers.

 's picture

Is this the same Angus King

who just happened to be in your offices when you were discussing the change in online commenting? He won't be happy with the online commenting in opposition to the rape of Maine's mountains regardless of whether people reveal their real names.

The problem with these projects, editorial board, is SITING. The proposed siting of projects on the tops of mountains all over the region, one ridgeline after another, is the result of a greedy governor and a visionless legislature. These structures with their red aviation lights are over 400 feet tall, dominate the landscape, and are built too close to homes that no one will want to buy from current owners. Period. Thank GOD for red tape. Unfortunately, red tape is all that's left after that thoughtless law was written.

PATRICIA DAIGLE's picture

Government money?

Can you name any form of power generation in the State of Maine that does NOT received government subsidies?

PATRICIA DAIGLE's picture

Government money?

Can you name any form of power generation in the State of Maine that does NOT received government subsidies?

SCOTT THISTLE's picture
staff

Federal subsidies for energy sector

In 2007, the most current data, I can find. The U.S. government subsidies for coal, gas and oil totaled $6.7 billion. The total for renewable energy including wind and solar was $4.9 billion. Source. U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration.

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