There’s a reason Angus King is a former governor of Maine and Jonathan Carter, former Green Independent Party candidate, is not.

King is more often in the mainstream of political thinking in Maine while Carter has never been able to accept that a majority of Mainers believe in mixed use of the state’s forest resources, including wind power.

The two former candidates for Maine’s highest elected office traded barbs and accusations last week over King’s investment in a 128-megawatt wind power project in Somerset County.

King and a group of investors hope to plant 48 wind turbines on a Highland Plantation site which is 3.5 miles from Carter’s home.

Carter says the project would require blasting 1.6 million cubic yards of rock and dirt, ultimately decimating alpine terrain and generating visual and noise pollution. What’s more, he said, the project would fail to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Carter is partially correct. Judging by the Kibby Project in the Chain of Ponds area, these projects do involve considerable road-building in difficult terrain.

On the other hand, Maine is already crisscrossed by thousands of miles of logging roads.

The roads can lead to erosion and other problems, but they also provide a living for thousands of Mainers who work in the forest and access for hundreds of thousands of fishermen, hunters and snowmobilers.

It’s an arrangement that an overwhelming number of Mainers are comfortable with and favor.

Maine has clearly established where wind projects can and cannot be built in an expedited fashion, and the projects are subject to a host of regulatory reviews and public hearings.

That wind power projects do not reduce greenhouse gases is nonsensical. When the turbines are spinning, the power is going into the grid where it offsets other sources of electricity, including natural gas and coal.

Carter called King a “mountain-slayer, ” and King offered to buy Carter a bus ticket to West Virginia where fossil fuel extraction decimates the land, pours poisons into streams and regularly kills miners.

And that’s all before it is burned to produce power, pouring tons of lethal chemicals and pollutants into the air, many of which end up fouling our air and water in Maine.

Realistically, all forms of electric-power generation result in trade-offs. We’re not about to go without electricity to run our homes and factories.

So, we need to select sources of generation that have the least impact on our environment. Wind and solar power are simply far more benign than burning fossil fuels.

But, ultimately, the most important fact about wind power in Maine is that Mainers believe in it.

A recent statewide telephone survey of 500 registered voters found that 88 percent support wind power development here.

Even in the rural counties where projects are being sited, 83 percent favored wind power.

Meanwhile, nearly three out of four Mainers said they would support a wind power project near where they live or visit.

They realize that wind power is not only better for the environment, but that it has the potential to support jobs for Mainers and contribute millions in tax revenue.

Those are hard arguments to beat.

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