MPBN Asks The Candidates: "Do you approve of the state's current wind power policy? "

MPBN: Do you approve of the state's current wind power policy? And, would you like to see the approval process either speeded up or perhaps slowed down to take account of complaints?

MITCHELL: Again, wind power is also balancing. You're trying to create clean energy. We're also protecting the things, the quality of life that is Maine. So, where most of the problems have come is the siting of the windmills. There has been -- the Legislature passed an expedited permitting process which, in itself, has caused anxiety among those who are trying to get wind up. But I don't mind public input. I do not mind people being able to raise their voices up in concern. What has happened on Vinalhaven, however, they are fully sufficient and are energy independent with their own wind turbines. There are a few people out there who don't like it, but I think 99 percent of the people do. They like the savings; they like the clean-ness; they like being independent. So I think Maine people, as a whole, would like that. And we know that in European countries, and other states, that this wind power is being developed in a way that's compatible. You can see wind turbines with cows grazing beside them. It might be a way to keep farmland open. But that's not always where the wind is. I understand that. The biggest problem for us is the mountains, making sure that we're putting them in a suitable place. Stetson wind farm I did visit and found that they were extraordinarily concerned about placement, that when power lines went above tree level, they went underground. They worked with abutters and, actually, the wind turbines there are graceful and they're producing energy in a way that appears to be compatible with the environment.

MPBN: Do you approve of the state's current wind power policy, and if not why not, and if so why?

LEPAGE: Well, I haven't seen, I'll admit, I have not seen the numbers on it. I know that they're promoting it, but I don't know what the economic numbers are. The numbers that I have seen, which says that they would increase the cost of energy to Maine people, I would be dead against that. I don't believe that Maine can stand to pay more for its energy, for its electricity. I would favor, as I said earlier, the only energies that I will favor is the energy that will reduce the cost of residential and commercial electricity in the state of Maine.

MPBN: Okay, let’s talk about wind for a moment. Do you approve of the state’s current wind power policy?

CUTLER: Yeah, I think it’s generally correct. I don’t have any significant policy differences.

MPBN: Do you approve of the state’s current wind power policy? If not, why, or if you do, why? Should the approval process be slowed down, or made easier?

MOODY: Well, I think the jury’s still out on that. I’m a pilot, been a pilot since the mid-nineties, and I’ve flown over the Mars Hill project, and I’ll be honest with you, from the air it’s like, wow, I can see why people up in that area that -- that encroaches on their vista -- would be upset, I certainly can understand. So I think the environmental impact, the aesthetic impact of those windmills is yet to be determined. I think there’s a real need, I think the vast majority of Mainers are in favor of wind power, either on- or offshore, so it’s going to be interesting to see. My personal opinion is, wind power is a viable alternative energy source, and federal dollars are flowing and we need to capitalize on that right now.

MPBN: And I’m sure you know, under the Baldacci administration, the siting process and the permitting process for wind power was expedited. Is that something you favor, or not?

MOODY: Well, I do. I think that too often – I don’t want to be a hypocrite, because I’m the person that’s saying the regulatory agencies and the environment itself slows down private enterprise from going forward, so I think this is a good example where state government tried to expedite to get the wind to market while the dollars and the funds were available, and now we’re seeing a natural democratic process emerge where residents that are being impacted, they have a voice, and this is America, they have the right to stand up for what they believe, and this will get worked out.

MPBN: Do you approve of the state’s current wind power policy, and if not why? And should the approval process be slowed down, or made easier?

SCOTT: Well, I don’t have a very good feeling for wind energy in unregulated territories, unorganized. I think that allowing LURC, Land Use Regulatory Commission, to oversee that massive, massive area of the state of Maine, and out-of-state or out-of-country private enterprise benefit and profit from Maine’s wind without the benefit to the Maine people – I don’t want to speak against wind, it has a place, but I’ll tell you, if you’re going to put eight or 12 or 22 windmills on one of our beautiful western mountain ridges, where I grew up, if you’re selling me that energy at two kilowatt cents an hour, and the Ethan Allen plant can buy that energy and not go out of business, then I’m going to say wow, that makes a lot of sense. But if you’re going to put wind energy with the policy we have now and rush these expedited windmill permits and what not and then tell me my energy costs are going up? I can’t support that. But I will support a rational, commonsense policy.

Look, Maine can generate its own power, and we’re exporting it. What about adding wind illustrates to you anything different than the same-old, same-old? Again, gas tax, how many hours we work, outsourcing state buildings, they’re all ideas that need to be looked at from, well, how did we get there, and what can we do better, before we go to this Draconian or extreme measure. And I feel that way about wind, I really do.

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Comment by Mary Beth Nolette on October 6, 2010 at 11:59am
I actually heard this interview on MPBN and LePage had a lot more to say regarding energy policy. He came out stronly against wind based on economics. He believes that we should be using hydro power instead of tearing down dams saying that the cheapest power is hydro coming from Canada. And we should be doing the same thing as they are.
He believes in new technology regarding nuclear and shallow drilling for oil, if there is anything there.
Comment by Long Islander on October 6, 2010 at 8:19am
We all share a strong desire to protect Maine from the blight of industrial wind installations and their accompanying unnecessary defilements to the Maine environment including hundreds of miles of massive costly transmission lines, new roads, mountain and ridge top blasting, habitat fragmentation, erosion, siltation and noise. We care for all creatures including Homo Sapiens.

This desire is the only desire that truly unites us.

Beyond this unifying desire, we differ. Democrats, Republicans, Conservatives, Liberals, Libertarians, Anarchists, Atheists, Religious, Back to Landers, Farmers, White Collar, Blue Collar, Camo Collar, Mainers, Tourists, Hippies, Ex-Hippies, Corporate executives, Off the Grid, On the Grid, Believers in Manmade Global Warming, Disbelievers in Manmade Global Warming, Shouters and Whisperers.

As different as we are, we all feel that something has been taken from us and we will not let our differences divide us in our effort to get it back. We will not let our paid opposition be successful in any efforts aimed at dividing us. United we stand.

Something is wrong and it must be fixed.

If not us, then who?
Comment by Lisa Lindsay on October 6, 2010 at 8:05am
Blast 'em! That'll take care of the mountains. The only candidate who makes sense on this issue is a nonviable one with excessive motor vehicle violations. Figures.
Comment by Brad Blake on October 6, 2010 at 1:14am
Very obvious to me that Mitchell doesn't really know what the hell she is talking about, in spite of being smack in the middle of ramming through the heinous Expedited Wind Permitting statute in just 15 days with no public awareness back in 2008. She has the gall to say that statute "has caused anxiety among those who are trying to get wind up". Are you kidding me, Libby? You gave away this state to the wind industry, severely curtailed citizen participation in the process, and specifically outlawed consideration of visual impact in the most beautiful state in the eastern USA? And you whine about it along with your buddies in the wind industry? And you praise the devastation of Stetson Mt. like a shill for First Wind (just like Baldacci) while ignoring the shameful low output of a project that is just a collector of tax subsidies? This answer shows that Libby as Governor will be nothing more than a Baldacci third term---God help us all!

None of these candidates exhibit the thought process or verbal skills to be the leader of the state. Cutler gave a one-liner. If LePage is going to go with cost effectiveness, which he seems to refer to, he should come out with a bold plan to show us how to lower electricity costs. Its simple, Paul. Be a leader. State that Maine should get out of ISO-NE, sign a long term deal for low cost Hydro-Quebec power, and be done with it. The people of this state hunger for a clearly stated course of action that will improve on the inept mess that has been Augusta for quite a while.
Comment by Ron Huber on October 6, 2010 at 12:20am
"The biggest problem for us is the mountains..."

...Oh yeah, that nature stuff. Don't worry; "the mountains" are on the permit checklist somewhere.


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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