Lynne Williams:Time to redefine green jobs in community context

Time to redefine green jobs in community context

Posted Jan. 24, 2012, at 12:22 p.m.
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Decades ago, I worked for a politician in California who was running for the state legislature. Given his platform and history, the unions should have supported his campaign. Yet most of them did not. While they didn’t necessarily support his opponent, they sat on their hands and didn’t help.

The reason? The candidate and many of the campaign staff were forces behind the passage of some strict rent control ordinances in the state. The trade unions felt that the ordinances, designed to prevent illegal, unfair and inhumane rent increases, sometimes of 100 percent, would lead to a loss of jobs. They argued that if there was a cap on rent increases, no one would invest in either building or buying rental property, resulting in a loss of jobs in that sector.

It was rare that the issue of affordable housing for working class folks, such as members of the building trades, was ever raised as a countervailing element in the discussion of rent control. History has shown that “job creation” frequently trumps such concerns as the provision of affordable housing, environmental protection, the impacts of solid waste facilities on abutters or whether a project’s scale is in keeping with its neighboring projects.

To this day, I am bemused at how anyone can look at job creation and land use in isolation, without looking at the overall societal impact of an action that is supported because it will “create jobs.” This is nowhere as evident as in the dialogue about how the construction of industrial wind facilities will create green jobs.

At every public hearing that LURC holds on an industrial wind project (the DEP does not hold public hearings on industrial wind projects, so the discussion doesn’t exist for projects that go before the DEP), there is an argument put forth on the part of the applicant that the project will create jobs, lots of them, as well as having economic trickle-down into the community.

Yet there is no acknowledgment that the jobs are short-term construction jobs, the economic trickle-down into the community is likewise short-term, and the remaining jobs, at the facility itself, are few and are often contract workers placed by the supplier of the turbines, not local workers. Using this simplistic, one-sided analysis avoids a discussion of the downside of these jobs, as much as the unions’ opposition to rent-control avoided discussing the downsides of allowing unfettered rent increases in their communities.

A true and open discussion of the green jobs argument in Maine would discuss the costs of such jobs and question whether the costs are worth the benefits. If we provide short-term construction jobs in Down East Maine and put guides, innkeepers, camps and restaurants out of business, is it worth it? Why are we making working people sacrifice their livelihood to create jobs? This will result in a net loss of long-term jobs.

But job creation is not what this is about. Rather, it is about using the green jobs argument to promote industrial developments that are just one more profit center for those who seek to exploit Maine’s natural resources.

It is about time that the impacts of these industrial projects are internalized, so that the agencies that are reviewing them have data available to weigh the economic benefits of the projects against the cost. And that cost must include the closure of small businesses, due to the project’s impacts on scenic values, environmental protection, wildlife, real estate values and human health. We must not allow our communities to be destroyed in the name of so-called green job creation.

Read the rest of this great piece in the Bangor Daily News at:

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Comment by Penny Melko on January 27, 2012 at 3:54am

Thank you for your well written perspective on the short term economic benefits to communities and long term losses. east Kern County opposition groups know them well. I've forwarded this article to many anti wind friends. I live in the Tehachapi Pass and am an active advocate of stopping any more turbine projects from being approved. The equipment is not fit to be in production.  It is obvious from the global outcry that unfortunately falls on deaf ears.

Wind Scam you are so on target. The politicians who approve the projects are investing in private equity funds without any conscience about our lives and property investments are being blighted or that entire ecosystems, ancient indian settlements will be graded and render useless for anything else.

May I share the results of some recent research, from a press release about the sale of Oak Creek Energy to a private investment hedge fund division of Barclays Bank.

Oak Creek Energy Systems sold their wind farm (majority owned by a Japanese giant, Marubeni) in July 2011.
American Wind Capital is owned by Barclay's Natural Resource Investments, Barclay Capital, a division of Barclay's Bank & NPG Energy Technology Partners.
Below is the same company's website "hustling" up land owners to lease their land to the company.  Now we know how the companies are enticing land owners to lease their lands out. 
Comment by Harrison Roper on January 25, 2012 at 10:50am

There it is, on the op-ed page of my BDN. Lynne, good for you!

H. Roper  Houlton/Danforth

Comment by Wind Scam on January 24, 2012 at 11:58pm

"GREEN ENERGY, just another name for MONEY LAUNDERING, done by our elected politicians in conjunction with the wind scam companies and their lobbyists.!"

Comment by Monique Aniel Thurston on January 24, 2012 at 11:51pm
Thank  you Lynne Williams for standing  up to an  industry whose product  is  the  destruction of Maine and the downfall  of  Maine 's  world known attraction : its  beauty and wildness .
Thank  you Lynne, for defending  what has  become undefendable because  a collusion of politicians , lawyers and wind  industry lobbyists  have  infiltrated the regulatory processes and lobby endlessly in front of the Energy Utility Committee for more laws  favorable to their expansion without any permanent jobs for Mainers  but  with  an assurred destruction  of  its  assets.
For more  information on  the  deceit  of green  jobs , please check the  following  link.
The wind  industry is perfectly aware that it will destroy the scenic assets  of   Maine and  to counterattack citizens  appealing wind project permits  a  new life  is given  to an old profession : landcape  architects are now paid to utter total insanities : that 400 feet steel turbines spinning on precious ridges have" adverse"  effects on a scenic area  but not:" unreasonably" adverse effects , they will tell you without laughing that if you hike or canoe or fish and dislike turbines,  just  turn your head in another direction.
Maine with 1000 or more 400 foot tall  rotating spikes in her landscape will become a futuristic industrial dump, not a tourist destination.
Not  happy  enough to destroy Maine's landscape, this industry will also destroy current businesses . Indeed,  wind industrial parks needs new transmission lines to transport electrons from remote locations to urban regions which will add a tremendous cost to electrical rates.
This in turn will chase away current businesses providing permanent jobs with benefits to states  with lower electrical rates.
It is perfectly clear to understand why the wind industry needed a  law to allow the rejection of scenic consideration from the permitting process, without that there would have never been any steel in the ground.
We are urging Governor LePage , Kenneth Fletcher and the Energy Utility Committee  to bring common sense to Maine's energy policies.
Let us not destroy Maine's  Quality of Place nor increase  the electrical rates .
If we do, Maine will be "closed for business". 
Monique Aniel
Comment by Harrison Roper on January 24, 2012 at 4:47pm

Lynne. THANK YOU SO MUCH for your fine article.  I hope to see it in tomorrow's paper.

Harry Roper


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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