Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s moral, or ethical
Jan. 31, 2010
By Lynne Williams
Tux Turkel’s piece in Sunday’s Portland Press Herald (January 31, 2010) was only a keyhole look at the influential connections between industrial wind industry executives and functionaries and Maine’s power elite. The defensive responses of those with such connections, that their behavior is legal and appropriate, is not unexpected. However, legality does not equate to moral or ethical.
And what the industrial wind giants, with the complicity of state leaders, are doing is immoral and unethical.
State government has a responsibility to protect the safety and happiness of the populace, as we can read in Article I of the Maine Constitution, which states that “all people are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inherent and unalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and of pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.”
Yet state government, in not only facilitating, but expediting, the process for those companies that seek to transform Maine into the Saudi Arabia of wind – is that really something we should aspire to, being a desert ruled by a hereditary monarch – is not protecting the safety, and certainly not the happiness, of Mainers in impacted communities.
It is appalling that the head of the Maine Center for Disease Control, Dr. Dora Mills, has belittled and marginalized those who live near wind turbines and are suffering insomnia, headaches and other even more serious health impacts, by saying that the impacts are merely annoying. Dr. Mills’ mandate is to protect the health of Mainers, not the health of the wind companies’ bottom line.
Local elected officials in potentially impacted communities, even those with financial connections to a wind company, only seem to recuse themselves from voting on a wind project when they are directly confronted by town residents, and then are annoyed (there’s that word again) that they must refrain from voting to benefit their benefactor. Likewise, wind companies select and pay for attorneys to advise towns during tax increment financing negotiations, flipping the concept of independent counsel on its head.
Most disturbing, however, was the behavior of the members of the legislature’s Energy Committee when wind activists appeared before them on January 28th.
A Committee Member whined about how they had been there since 1 pm and at 7 pm it was cutting into their family time. Look, Mr. Committee Member, you are the one who decided to get elected to office, so do your job no matter how much time it takes. And all of you should try to remember that you work for us – we put you there, and we can dump you too. So try your best to listen to those citizens that come before you, rather than being impatient and angry that anyone would dare to come to Augusta to petition their state government. Forgot about the Bill of Rights, didn’t you? And besides that, Mr. Legislator, you’re fortunate to live in a place where you can enjoy family time. If you lived in parts of Freedom, Mars Hill or Vinalhaven you might have welcomed an opportunity to stay away from home a little longer.
So, that brings me back to our state constitution. While Article I, Section 1 talks about natural rights, as noted above, Section 2 states that all power is inherent in the people and the people have an “unalienable and indefeasible right to institute government, and to alter, reform, or totally change the same, when their safety and happiness require it.”
For over two years Augusta has been welcoming industrial wind with open arms, facilitating their colonization of our state. Maine state government has become the King George of our time and for those of us who are working to stop this travesty, these are the times that try men’s (and women’s) souls. These are also the times to work together to, as our Maine Constitution states, alter, reform or, if necessary, totally change our state government, because our safety and happiness truly does require it.