8/11/10 08:19 pm
By Monique Aniel
Special to the NEWS
Wind power in Maine is a chess game, a chess game for those protected by multinational companies and allies in the current administration.
It is a game that took 20 years to design, a game that redefined new rules for state and federal agencies, reshaping their mandates of protecting America’s citizens and majestic lands into doing the exact opposite.
A game that put people’s rights and public health behind those of the wind industry and simply ignored the complaints of those disturbed by the maddening whoosh of turbines.
Wind power is a game that turns electricity, which is already expensive, into a thrice absurdly expensive commodity hurting the pocketbook of residential and business customers alike. First in the purchasing cost, second in the cost of subsidies necessary to support the inefficiency and unreliability of this industry and third in the ratepayer-funded new electrical transmission structures required to accommodate the thermal stresses of spurting wind generation.
Wind power is a game that sacrifices America ’s natural heritage for the profits of parasitic corporations adept at exploiting government policies, political correctness, guilty consciences of environmental organizations and fears about our environment.
John Baldacci is in a hurry. He badly wants to win at this wind power game. He sees the growing statewide opposition and the national economic conditions endangering his strategy. He sees his eight years of gaming as governor ending in five short months and fears a new administration with the common sense to put an end to the wastefulness of public spending, increased costs in electricity and human suffering.
John Baldacci designed the game when he signed a law, LD 2283, that removed all obstacles to the permanent disfigurement of 360 miles of mountain ridges with 1,800 wind turbines, twice the height of the tallest building in the state.
But along the way he got help.
His friend and chief counsel of three years, Kurt Adams, former chairman of the Public Utilities Commission and now a vice president of First Wind, helped convince the Legislature that wind power was a good game. They believed him and unanimously passed the governor’s law in 2008.
The law was called the “Expedited Wind Power Law” and was the result of the Governor’s Task Force on Wind Power, an exercise in ideological and environmental insanities that would set in motion sweeping and abhorrent land-use changes.
His other ally David Littell, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, helped implement the governor’s law by giving permits to hungry developers without serious regard for the environment he was charged to protect.
David Littell was an architect of and is implementing the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a sort of New England version of the now defunct federal cap and trade. That initiative was created at the time Maine was already a model in the use of renewables as sources of fuel for its electrical production.
Now the game is changing. The law is in place but a growing opposition in the state, the country and the world is questioning and refuting the energy, economic and environmental premises of wind power. Meanwhile, a $1.5 billion transmission project has recently been approved by the PUC, sold to the citizens as necessary to replace aging lines. It is now being described by the outgoing PUC chairman and Central Maine Power spokepersons as vital to the sale of wind power by a tiny few to Massachusetts and Connecticut — the real reason all along.
So the governor is moving his chess pieces. He has just nominated Kurt Adams as a trustee of the board of the Maine University System and David Littell as the chairman of the PUC.
The Maine university system has a sizable research program into development of the next generations of wind turbines. With Kurt Adams as a trustee, the agenda of the wind industry will be just a bit more secure.
The PUC is the agency giving permits to the building of transmission lines necessary to export wind power electrons. With David Littell as chairman, residents fighting against those new lines may just have a little bit more work to do .
If there is any hope for John Baldacci to cash in on his wind policies, he must keep the chess game moving so the game can either go on or be won.
Adams and Littell are excellent moves for the wind industry, much less palatable for its victims.
Monique Aniel of Mexico is a retired physician and co-chairwoman of the Citizens’ Task Force on Wind Power.
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