Wind projects in towns without protective ordinances may not benefit the people. Towns where wind-generating facilities have been permitted to operate without legal guarantees and adequate enforcement protocols can only trust the multi-million-dollar industries to be fair and safe.
The Home Rule Enabling Act, approved by voters and passed by the Maine Legislature in 1970 , broadened the powers of local government and allowed towns to write self-governing ordinances — a basic form of local democracy that Mainers hold dear.
Without an ordinance, who can know if promises made by corporations are empty promises or short-lived, at best? And why would a good business not want to enter into a written contract, with laws to guide and protect both parties?
Town ordinances can require that wind facilities be properly constructed, maintained and repaired, and that their presence does not increase liability for the town.
Likewise, ordinances address fees and costs, and can maximize community benefit packages.
Town ordinances, of course, may appear too restrictive when the design of the wind plant is too large for the area, or when planned to be constructed too close to where people live.
Towns should not be fooled by promises that don't come with guarantees. Nobody wants to hear the words “We told you so”after a wind-power plant is built in your community.
A. Ingrid Eriksson, Sumner