By streamlining wind approval, Maine Legislature is preparing to sell out northern Maine

The wind turbines erected by First Wind in Township 16 are visible from the Schoodic Mountain summit in eastern Hancock County.
Brian Swartz | BDN
The wind turbines erected by First Wind in Township 16 are visible from the Schoodic Mountain summit in eastern Hancock County.
By Mike Bond, Special to the BDN
Posted Feb. 19, 2014, at 2:46 p.m.

Right now a few southern Maine Democrats are attempting to push a bill through the Legislature that will drastically affect central and northern Maine’s outdoor resources, forests, mountains, tourism, property values and economy.

This ominous bill, LD 1750, diminishes the state Department of Environmental Protection’s ability to consider effects on many of Maine’s most scenic vistas, lakes, ridges, mountains and ponds in approving wind energy projects. It forces DEP and other state agencies to limit environmental impact testimony to experts only, so that Maine residents faced with huge destructive energy developments in their backyards cannot stop them.

Even worse, LD 1750 gives a blank check to foreign and out-of-state industrial wind companies to build thousands of huge turbine towers across the middle and top half of Maine with limited environmental review. Southern Maine voters don’t want wind turbines there, so the Legislature is effectively arranging for hundreds of towers to be built in northern and central Maine where, under current law, residents won’t even get the chance to decide if they want these huge industrial zones or not.

This bill wasn’t introduced until the second half of the current legislative term, which — under the Maine Constitution — is largely reserved for bills “of an emergency nature.” It’s unclear to me why this bill is so urgent and critical as to be labeled an emergency. What is clear, however, is the catastrophic environmental, social and economic impact of industrial wind development.

In fact, the impact is so catastrophic wind developments have been halted in southern New England states. But now these and other eastern states are paying to devastate the magnificent ridges, peaks, and mountains of Maine with enormous howling machines more than 50 stories high, some so huge they’ll be the third-tallest structures in New England.

These vast projects have been proven to slaughter hundreds of thousands of birds and bats, destroy scenic beauty, lower property values and tourism, sicken people and drive them from their homes, disrupt economies and raise electric rates. But they make billions in taxpayer-funded subsidies for the investment banks that develop them. And a lot of that money gets passed along to politicians, media and special-interest “environmental” groups willing to betray Maine for cash.

Despite the wind industry’s self-serving claims, these destructive projects don’t reduce greenhouse gas emissions or fossil fuel use, because wind is so erratic that fossil fuel must run constantly to back up the turbines. Case studies from around the world show that wind projects do not lower CO2 or fossil fuel use, and in some cases even increase them.

Once these howling turbine towers with their red flashing strobes are constructed across Maine, it will be too late to stop them. So we need everyone who cares about Maine to fight back now. Or lose the Maine we love.

If you have two minutes to give to save Maine, please email or call your legislators and ask them to kill LD 1750. And if this hideous bill is passed by the Legislature, please email or call the governor and ask him to veto LD 1750.

Two minutes of your time can help save Maine.

Mike Bond of Winthrop is an environmental activist, renewable energy advocate and author.

 

http://bangordailynews.com/2014/02/19/opinion/by-streamlining-wind-approval-maine-legislature-is-preparing-to-sell-out-northern-maine/ printed on August 1, 2014