A. Barnett: Step up to the plate

When it comes to industrial wind, Gov. Paul LePage knows the facts. So do the people of rural Maine.

The Legislature also knows the facts, though it seems more interested in catering to the wind lobby, then in protecting the people and lands of Maine.

At a recent town hall meeting in Salem Township, the governor told us that if we aren't happy with the wind projects that are showing up across rural Maine, that we should let the Legislature know it. It is, after all, an election year.

With many small towns adopting restrictive zoning ordinances to protect themselves, and with the people of the unorganized territories and plantations holding press conferences and speaking out against a system that caters to foreign developers at the expense of Mainers, I think we are making our point.

It isn't about "green." Nothing about wind is green. Any real scientist (not on the wind lobby payroll) will verify that.

And it isn't about jobs or electricity — every European country that has encouraged the heavily subsidized wind industry has lost jobs and raised electric prices in the long run. It is about protecting the people of Maine, and it is about listening to those people, instead of catering to the politically well-connected wind lobby.

It is time for the Maine Legislature to step up to the plate. It has the facts. Now it is time to act on those facts and to simply do the right thing for the people of Maine.

Alice McKay Barnett, Carthage

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 's picture

You're right about one thing...

"When it comes to industrial wind, Gov. Paul LePage knows the facts." He's full of it.


Solving the real problem

I'm hearing a lot of people say wind energy is not a solution. The problem remember is imported oil. Maine is heavily dependent on imported oil. Not only is it a limited resource and a polluting resource but you have to factor in the cost of all the oil wars we have been involved in if you want a realistic price on the cost of a gallon of heating oil. Our electrical energy costs are already really high without wind power. I can understand that people don't want their environment disturbed to make electricity for cities that are far away but the need for electricity there isn't going to disappear. Other solutions are not very good either. Natural gas is also a limited, polluting resource. Digging up our coastlines is expensive, and poses great environmental risks. See the Gulf of Mexico. Wind is a stopgap solution because we have not come up with anything else. Nuclear energy maybe?

 's picture

Wind Industry Would Lose

Thank you for the excellent letter, Ms. Barnett. The Legislature passed the heinous Expedited Wind Permitting statute (LD 2283) in the rush of the waning days of the short term of the legislature in April 2008. It was rammed through by Baldacci and his cronies on behalf of the wind industry without any discussion. The public was totally unaware and legislators I have spoke with admitted they never read the bill they voted to pass. This sham is causing great harm to our state as it has opened up an onslaught of sprawling industrial wind sites with hugely destructive footprints in our western mountains and northeastern uplands.

Two problems with dealing with the Legislature: these projects go into sparsely populated areas with few representatives in the Legislature and the rest of the state seems to take an "out of sight, out of mind attitude" or simply spout the ingrained wind industry propaganda because they are not aware of the other side of a complex issue. The other problem is that in spite of many gallant efforts, including the drafting and introduction of a dozen bills in the last Legislature, it is volunteer citizens with few resources going up against the wind industry that had an open door to the Baldacci administration and plenty of money for full time lobbyists, lawyers, and PR firms. Ironically, much of the money to pay for their efforts comes from us taxpayers, as without the heavy tax credits, TIFs and subsidies, this industry would not even exist. It truly is a "David vs Goliath" situation.

I am a citizen who understands what this is about and I will continue to actively oppose the destruction of rural Maine for this folly. Kudos to you, Ms. Barnett!

 's picture

EUT committee

If nothing else let us ask EUT committee to look at the facts.
The Governor is right in trying to uproot this committee.

Senator Michael D. Thibodeau (R-Waldo), Chair

Senator Christopher W. Rector (R-Knox)

Senator Philip L. Bartlett II (D-Cumberland)

Representative Stacey Allen Fitts (R-Pittsfield), Chair

Representative James M. Hamper (R-Oxford)

Representative Dean A. Cray (R-Palmyra)

Representative Larry C. Dunphy (R-Embden)

Representative Aaron F. Libby (R-Waterboro)

Representative Jon Hinck (D-Portland)*

Representative Alexander Cornell du Houx (D-Brunswick)

Representative Roberta B. Beavers (D-South Berwick)

Representative Mark N. Dion (D-Portland)

Representative Louis J. Luchini (D-Ellsworth)

 's picture

Local ordinances over ride state government

More and more towns protecting themselves...some how Unorganized Townships need a home rules protection.

Buckfield, Wilton, Rumford, Byron, Phillips, New Vineyard, Newry have ordinances
Peru, Dixfield, Paris, Sumner, Woodstock, Weld, Bethel are in process of writing one.

Peaks Island, Frankfurt, Carrantuck voted for protection.



Blue Hill










Deer Isle






New Vineyard














 's picture

Thanks, Alice...I often

Thanks, Alice...I often wonder if our legislators are aware of what is happening within their district. I guess this upcoming legislative session, starting in January, will answer this question. Contacting them as a singular citizen , as I have and I know you have, seems so unproductive, at times, because most never even reply.

Mark Elliott's picture

Dan, they may not always

Dan, they may not always respond but they do listen. From my experience, you get best results by writing an original letter. Do not use a "form letter" that 1000 other people might be using as well.....those usually get ignored or you'll get a "form answer".

Mark Elliott's picture

Alice, getting the

Alice, getting the legislators to step up to the plate starts with "you"......are you speaking with your representatives regularly?

 's picture

Thank you for an excellent

Thank you for an excellent letter, Ms. Barnett. It may take a bit longer for the legistlature to admit that the expedited wind law pushed through by Baldacci without any discussion was wrong, but the residents of rural towns aren't wasting any time in protecting themselves from this scam. Good for them. The information is out there and we're educating ourselves. The media hasn't helped, but they could if they chose to. Where there's smoke, there's fire. Lately there's been a whole lot of smoke and it's getting thicker by the moment.

 's picture

An amazing thing happens in

An amazing thing happens in Augusta once bills are presented. They go to committee first. In the case of energy, or more specifically, industrial wind siting , such bills go before the Energy, Utility and Technology Committee. Last session, some very good bills came to this committee and if left to proceed to the legislature 'as written' , then proper debate could have taken place. But, the committee rearranged the intent of many bills which killed the debate process, there and then. I witnessed this procedure for myself and it opened my eyes.
I will say Rep. Dunphy , a member of this committee, at least, sensed the original intent of these bills were thrown aside and brought amendment to legislative debate for a 1 and 1/2 mile setback from grid scale wind turbines to resident homes. 52 legislators voted in favor of allowing discussion on it. I'm sure there will be many more legislators this session with desire to see bills coming to them intact and not high-jacked by this committee.

 's picture

rate hikes

Governor said,"

The government has been subsidizing renewable energy development at the cost of Maine ratepayers. As a result, energy prices have skyrocketed over the past decade and we can no longer expect Maine people to foot the rising bill."

1. Reliability Maine; 8% of $30 billion for Maine would be $2.4 billion in expense for Maine ratepayers. = rate hike

2.The Renewable Portfolio Standard : Wind Power Marketer's dream. Charging $85 to $100 per megawatt into a grid where commonly the price is $55 per megawatt. Higher prices.
= rate hike
3. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative penalizes conventional electric generators . That's an increase in costs = rate hike.
4. Efficiency Maine , a program that places a surtax on everyone's electric bill. That's an increase = rate hike.

 's picture

If after a period of

If after a period of time,when municipalities within the district of certain state representatives have adopted ordinances or moratoriums effectively indicating their desire to opt out of the " Industrial Wind Zones " designated within the expedited wind law of 2008, wouldn't you think they would seriously rethink their position on Industrial Wind or have they "opted out" of their duties to represent their districts.


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