Conservation Law Foundation fights ocean windfarm plan on constitutional grounds

A recent story in a New England newspaper details how the Conservation Law Foundation has joined up with the attorney general of Rhode Island to oppose reconsideration of a power-purchase agreement between National Grid and Deepwater Wind Co which proposed windmills off Rhode Island. Both are seeking to have the contract dismissed.

Although the CLF is a backer of renewable energy, its motion for dismissal calls the recent change (legislation signed into law by the Rhode Island governor in mid June) to benefi Deepwater unconstitutional.

“Renewable energy is too important to this state to do it in a way that could threaten its chances for success,” CLF said in a statement.

“While it seems counterintuitive to oppose a proceeding engineered to green-light a beneficial project, we believe unequivocally that a fair and open process and a level playing field for all comers must be at the heart of renewable-energy development."

Specifically, the new law violates the separation-of-powers doctrine, according to the motion.
“The doctrine of separation of powers requires that judicial and quasi-judicial decisions be final and conclusive, appealable only to a higher court; the doctrine specifically requires that such decisions not be reversible by legislative fiat,” the CLF motion states.

Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch said:
“We continue to fight against this special-interest measure and inside deal tailored to put only one entity, Deepwater Wind, on the fast track to develop a costly demonstration project that isn’t needed, and will create only six full-time jobs,”

The CLF also says that the new law goes against provisions in the Rhode Island Constitution that require “all laws be made for the good of the whole.”

CLF staff Attorney Jerry Elmer referred to the original law signed last year that required National Grid to sign long-term contracts to buy renewable energy as a counterpoint to what happened in the legislative session that wrapped up in June. READ FULL ARTICLE

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Comment by Ron Huber on August 26, 2010 at 9:18am
Of if you mean can we charge violation of constitutional separation of powers? Part of my lawsuit about the Sears Island container port plan in upper Penobscot Bay is over Constitutional separation of powers in Maine- Legislature's Transportation committee usurping executive branch functions:

"Petition for Review of Final Agency Action by MDOT in Maine Superior Court, Knox County.
Excerpt "Mr. Huber asks this Court to find Public Law Chapter 277 An Act Regarding the Management and Use of Sears Island to be an unconstitutional delegation of Executive Branch land use decision-making power to the Maine Legislature's Joint Committee on Transportation, in violation of Sections 1 and 2 of the Maine Constitution's Article III Distribution of Powers, and of MRSA 3 §165 Joint Committees, Authority, and declare all decisions made pursuant to its exercise by the Joint Committee on Transportation and Maine DOT invalid."
Comment by Ron Huber on August 26, 2010 at 9:11am
Do you mean "same fight" as in offshore wind? Yes we can and should. There are myriad conservation laws protecting our oceans, including the Gulf of Maine that should be brought into play at this early stage.
Comment by alice mckay barnett on August 26, 2010 at 8:45am
can we have same fight in Maine?


Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power


Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT


(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.”

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Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."

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