Comments by armichka

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...

Alan Michka's picture

It's clear now

I'm sorry that you've turned this into a pro-wind/anti-wind issue, but it sheds a lot of light on the motivation for your comments. It also shows that you've missed the foundation of the legislation in question entirely. In none of your posts, including this last very long one, have you ever explained what it was in my original comment that I was wrong about, according to you. That was all you ever needed to do - and still haven't done.

I assume you live in an organized town. Statistically speaking, that's a safe bet. As such, you have a right, relative to wind power siting, that we both had prior to 2008. You still have yours. I lost mine. If you think that's fair, I have to disagree and I guess we can leave it at that.

The Maine House passed our bill overwhelmingly. The Senate majority leader moved to keep the bill from even being voted on there, perhaps because he feared it might pass. The Senate majority leader also has what is probably Maine's largest corporate benefactor of wind development in his district. That seems a little fishy to me. If that sounds entirely innocent to you, fine. We can disagree on that to.

And since YOU brought it up, the amount of electricity produced by wind in the U.S. is about 3% of consumption, not 35%. But, that has absolutely nothing to do with the bill that sparked this discussion.

Please don't worry about responding unless you're going to address the original question.

Alan Michka's picture

We can all disagree, but...

Please don't set me up as one not willing to listen to other views or opinions. I'd be very willing to correct my statement if you'd tell me what I got wrong.

I have no issues whatsoever with disagreement or differing opinions; of course you're allowed to disagree. We all are. I simply asked you to fill me in on what was in my comment you disagree with. You've chosen not to for some reason. Disagreeing without identifying what you disagree with is not that constructive.

Alan Michka's picture

What part am I wrong about?

I wrote the proposal for the bill in question (LD 616). I spoke at the public hearing on the bill. I attended all three work sessions on the bill. I answered questions from the legislators who crafted the majority amendment to the bill, and so on. I talked at length with numerous Representatives and Senators about the bill. So, I feel fairly qualified to talk about it and what it would have done and not done. You seem to believe you know more about it than I do, however.

I'm curious, how familiar are you with the bill and its provisions? How familiar are you with wind power permitting in the UTs? What part of my previous comment are you suggesting that I'm wrong about?

Alan Michka's picture

Bob, you need to get the facts straight

Bob, it's obvious that you're not familiar with the bill on which you have such a pointed opinion. You've actually got the facts turned upside down.

The bill was trying to RESTORE the rights that were denied to only a few. Those of us affected are the ONLY citizens in the state who've had to tolerate this denial of rights. We weren't trying to get anything new or unique - just the same rights we had prior to 2008. You still have yours. Why do you want to deny a few Mainers rights similar to yours.

Invoking the NIMBY label is a lazy approach to addressing the issue. There's probably also a label for those who want to keep their rights and deny them to others, but I'll refrain.

Get your facts straight and then try again.

Alan Michka's picture

Dylan Voorhees of the Natural

Dylan Voorhees of the Natural Resources Council of Maine said after the vote, “Clearly, this issue’s not going to go away until it’s resolved and we remain pretty committed to working on there being a workable process.”

For the record, Mr. Voorhees and the NRCM have been committed only to being sure that the rights of these citizens remains severely restricted, even testifying against another bill that would have taken a similar action.

The alternative version of the bill offered by the NRCM would have prohibited a majority of the affected communities from even pursuing the restoration of their rights, including several of those that brought the bill forward.

This feigned concern by the NRCM is a sad attempt by that organization to hide their true intent, which is to keep some Mainers voices out of wind power siting decisions.

Alan Michka's picture

Mr. Farago correctly

Mr. Farago correctly identifies the reason Maine remains burdened with bad wind policy and law - lobbying by corporate and special interests. A regular Mainer need only travel to Augusta for a day to see why his or her voice is drowned out by the gangs of neck-tied hired guns who fill the hallways and committee rooms daily. While most of us are going to our jobs wistfully believing that our voices matter, the hired guns are making sure that Maine law serves them and their clients first and foremost.

Citizens have been trying to initiate reform to Maine's short-sighted wind law for four years now, but it appears another legislative session will end with no meaningful changes. This, despite the fact that two years ago Maine taxpayers hired and paid impartial experts, under the Legislature's direction, for their opinion on Maine's current approach to wind power siting. The experts said it could use some work. The Legislature's response? So far, it appears they'll just keep the report on the shelf collecting dust and listen to the wind lobby, i.e. maintain the status quo.

You'd be hard pressed to find a legislator in Augusta today who truly believes that our laws governing land-based wind power are working just fine. You'd also be hard-pressed to find a majority willing to do anything about it. Why? Just take a stroll through the hallways in Augusta and sit in a committee room full of wind power lobbyists for a day and you'll see why. And say hello to Mr. Payne while you're there.

Alan Michka's picture

Payne knows a thing or two about hyperbole

It's ironic that Mr. Payne decries the "hyperbolic media coverage" of Maine's controversial wind laws in a media piece inflated by his own hyperbole. It seems obvious that Payne is becoming desperate to preserve the extreme preferential treatment enjoyed by his wind industry clients in an atmosphere of increasing criticism of Maine's existing wind laws and policy - even from hearty supporters of wind power.

Yesterday's weekend legislative work session revealed a growing awareness of the weaknesses of our present approach to wind power among most everyone, not just those who've been publicly critical of it, but those who have hearty support for wind power in general.

I suspect this piece was written in advance of the work session to sway lawmakers if published prior to the session, or as damage control if published after. As public skepticism of the wisdom of our current wind policy and process grows, especially among our lawmakers, I'm betting that Mr. Payne is going to very busy writing more "hyperbolic" media pieces to obscure the facts of this important issue.

Alan Michka's picture

Look at the positive

Some of those Texas energy companies happen to be proposing wind projects here, you know.

No one suggested tearing down anything, as far as I know. The suggestion might be to take the advice of impartial experts hired and paid for by the people of Maine, under the direction of the 125th Legislature.

Those experts suggested that our current statutory approach to siting wind power in Maine has some shortcomings, not the least of which is that Maine's siting process lacks "legitimacy" - the experts' words, not mine. You can see the report at: http://maine.gov/energy/pdf/Wind%20Assessment%202012%20Final%20Report%20...

Striving to find the fairest and most sensible policy and process for wind power, or anything else, shouldn't strike fear or panic in anyone. It should be welcomed, shouldn't it?

Alan Michka's picture

Kibby is a dismal failure

As one writer already noted, the replacement of the turbine would seem to be a no brainer if this was a truly viable operation. But......,

The Kibby wind project has been the statewide laggard in performance since it began operations. It's the highest elevation project in the state located in one of the most sensitive environments. What a waste.

This project, among others in the state, probably has the worst cost to benefit ratio; especially if social and environmental costs are included.

It's what happens when public enthusiasm exceeds public knowledge.