May 8, 2019
Senator Lawrence and Representative Berry, and members of the Utilities Committee, I am Chris O’Neil, Public Affairs Director at Friends of Maine’s Mountains. FMM testifies against LD 1494, with a friendly amendment that would make the legislation more effective and more palatable.
FMM educates the public about the high impacts and low benefits of Maine land-based wind energy development. In that role, FMM has spent the last decade protecting Maine’s iconic Quality of Place from this very destructive form of industrialization. At the same time, FMM has always advocated for sensible clean energy and environmental policy.
First, FMM continues to urge you – as we have all year – to park the legislation presented today, and to collaboratively work with the dozen or so other similar bill sponsors, the governor, and the various interested parties before moving forward with any broad energy/climate policy reforms, including the proposals to revisit renewable portfolio mandates. Coordination of effort is already ongoing, and it is imperative that it continues.
Second, FMM is pleased that Mainers have finally parsed our dialogue such that energy does not mean electricity. As you know from earlier legislation this session, Maine’s various energy sectors must be considered separately, even as they have at least one predominant common denominator: fossil fuel reliance.
Third, please assess the problem, Maine’s role in the problem, and Maine’s possible contributions to any solutions that have been proposed. As you know, Maine electricity generation is already among the cleanest in the nation, with minimal fossil fuel use. At 40% our RPS is the highest in the nation, and our transportation sector emits at least 6 times more CO2 than our electricity sector does. FMM has been pleased to see so many policymakers this year - especially the governor - fixating not on unnecessary, redundant and unaffordable new electricity generation, but on the real CO2 problem and low hanging fruit: fossil fuel use in heating and transportation, which emit ten times more CO2 than electricity does.
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