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Maine Governor Proposes 63 Clean Energy and Environment Reversals

The new Tea Party governor says businesses are on the endangered species list, but opponents say his proposals will harm the state's nature-based economy

By Maria Gallucci

Jan 31, 2011

Sean Mahoney, the Maine advocacy center director for the regional , told SolveClimate News that LePage is also seeking to dismantle statutory and regulatory changes that provide incentives for renewable energy projects. The move could hinder Maine's wind power development goals of hosting between 2,000 and 3,000 megawatts of turbines by 2020, he said.

Renewables, mainly hydroelectric power, account for about 50 percent of Maine's electricity mix.

The proposals also suggest plans to significantly cut back bonds approved for the state-funded (LMF) Program, an office that helped to conserve more than a million acres of land. The program has implemented nearly 200 projects to protect mountain summits, salt marshes and coastal shorelines, as well as provide public access to the outdoors for hunting, fishing and camping.

LMF is also charged with protecting the North Woods, a 3.5-million acre forest in northwestern Maine that could open up for development under the governor's plan, which also calls for a rollback on regulations calling for smart planning to prevent urban sprawl.

Overdevelopment, Mahoney said, would eliminate part of the state's enormous forest carbon sink, a natural reservoir that sequesters carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and thus reduces greenhouse gas levels.

"We plan to work to first try and educate and the governor on why some of the proposals that he has made are wrong-footed, but if he would continue to pursue them, we will most likely be opposing those efforts," he said.

The list goes on and on, conservationists lament.

LePage's proposals would abolish the , a citizen board created by the legislature to enforce regulations and swapping Maine's environmental laws on air-emissions removal with less stringent federal standards.

The plan would also open up 30 percent — or three million acres — of Maine's unorganized land to development while overhauling regulations of the Department of Environmental Protection and the Land Use Regulation Commission.

Other suggestions include eliminating Maine's electronic waste recycling program, the first of its kind in the nation, and reversing the planned phase-out of (BPA) in children's products, such as baby bottles and cups. The proposals would lift a ban on using toxic flame retardants in furniture and would no longer require hospitals to grind used syringes before throwing them out, a measure meant to keep the devices from washing up in the state’s fishing and recreational waters.

'False Conflict' Between Environment and Economy

A coalition of 24 Maine environmental groups argue that protecting the state's landscapes and offshore waters is more economically sound than opening it to what they call rampant development.

They say that most of the environmental laws passed with overwhelming support from both Republican and Democrat legislators, signaling a statewide interest in conversation and environmental protection.

"A dirty environment is no way to bring new jobs to Maine," Maureen Drouin, executive director of the , told SolveClimate News.

She noted that the state's forest-based manufacturing, tourism and recreation bring $6.5 billion to Maine’s economy each year, while wildlife-related recreation contributes $1.5 billion and Maine's well-renowned lobster and clam industries bring $1 billion each year. Representatives from these industries spoke out at with more than 500 attendants to link the state economy to strong environmental regulations in a final effort to reach out to LePage before he issued the proposals.

Mahoney said: "[LePage] is trying to roll back four decades of environmental statutes and regulations that have allowed Maine to maintain its unique set of natural resources, as well as make use of them economically."

If there is one thing that

If there is one thing that gets under my skin is people who get all up in arms and sue people over perceived defamation of character and then those same people say the worst possible things about the tea party.

I also agree on the hypocrisy of the environmentalists!

 

Wenn das , das Sie benutzen, nicht ab und zu Boni auf die Einzahlungen bietet, sollten Sie wohl woanders spielen.

Envoronmental Hypocrites

There is one thing I despise more than anything else and that is hypocrisy.  The so-called environmentalists are quoted throughout this article wanting to protect the beauty and natural resources of Maine and they unfairly tar the new Governor as being the destroyer-in-chief.  However, these same people promote the proliferation of sprawling industrial wind sites throughout rural Maine.


Hypocrites!  Is blasting away 350 miles of Maine's uplands for an industry that wouldn't exist without heavy taxpayer subsidies protecting Maine's natural resources?  Whining about Gov. LePage and the carbon sequestering forest when LePage hasn't cut a single tree but 50,000+ acres of forest will be scalped to make way for turbines that don't even put out 25% of capacity in Maine's poor wind?  Isn't lining ridges with nearly 2,000 turbines each 389 to 435 feet tall (3 times taller than the tallest building in Maine) with 60 to 100 ton nacelles and blade sweeps wider than the wing span of the largest jets the epitome of industrialization of the Maine rural area?


So, Sean Mahoney, you are the biggest hypocrite this side of Angus King and John Baldacci with your whining about LePage seeking to dismantle statutory and regulatory changes that provide incentives for renewable energy projects--that is, your darling useless wind turbines.  If you sincerely cared about Maine’s environment, you would never want to see one of these put up anywhere.


The runner up for biggest hypocrite in this story is Maureen Drouin who touts the value of Maine’s tourism, recreation and wildlife-related recreation.  That is very true and Gov. LePage is not going to wreak that.  What will wreak it is ringing our beautiful inland tourism areas with sprawling industrial turbines and the accompanying wildlife habitat fragmentation and the disruption of wildlife—and humans—by both the audible noise and low frequency sound waves emanating from industrial wind turbines.  Drouin’s group also foolishly promotes the folly of wind turbines.


So, just who or what is the bigger threat to the resources of rural Maine?  I’m with Gov. LePage on this and fervently hope that with his pledge to support only those energy solutions that are cost effective and will help lower electricity costs to Maine people and businesses that the road to ruin with wind turbines will end.


 

Thanks

Good letter. You saved me from hen pecking it out. As I watch the turbines go up from my once pristine view I am positive wind turbines are wrong for the great state of Maine. The pittance of power is a sad joke and I would not be surprised if the windsprawl use more than they make much of the time. Anyone supporting industrial wind turbines should never claim to be an environmentalist. LePage got a lot of votes from those who wanted windsprawl stopped and Libby M. stated she was FOR the monstrosities. I may agree with little else LePage may say or do but the windsprawl must stop soon. 

Translation

When a Tea Party supported governer says "balance environmental and business protection", they really mean destroying environmental laws to let corporations pollute without limit.

Le Page is spot on

Outside environmentalists have sold their soul to BIG WIND FARMING CORPORATIONS like First Wind and corrupted the public decisionmaking process, as well as destroying the 'forever wild' designation many of us have worked for decades to make the dominant public goal.

Deals were made; KURT ADAMS and former governor ANGUS KING's son have gotten rich from stock and other deals in  a highly questionable manner.

Basically we are disgused with groups like the Conservation Law Foundation, with their exclusive retreats outside of freeport and the Natural Resources Council of Maine.

Gov. LePage is right to link verifiable, objective evidence of climate change with REGI goals.....and if it isn't obvious; then REGI and the bevy of carbon traders need to be shown the door.

Mainers simply won't buy expensive wind energy, when they can follow in Vermont's footsteps and buy QUEBEC HYDRO for 6 cents/KwH and be assured  the price will hold up for 20 years.

 

Stop Big Wind In Maine

Where is the proof that, "Maine has excelled nationally in its efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions"?? How is this supposedly being measured? and by who?


Hopefully Gov. LePage will end the senseless, environmentally destructive, industrialization of Maines mountains by subsidized wind developers. 


Use Less


 


 

Alternative

Would you rather have Maine get its electricity from coal obtained through mountain top removal mining? That is way more harmful to mountains than wind turbines.

Irrelevant

Maine doesn't get any of its electricity from mountaintop coal mining or coal mining period.


The reality is that wind turbines produce relatively little electricity as there is just not that much energy density in wind compared to other sources. But even worse, the electricity that does get produced is always after the fact.


 The reason that wind power is so expensive is that it is not compatible with the grid and such compatibility could be 30 years off, if that. The grid must line up in advance sufficient electricity to meet demand, which can be forecasted quite accurately the day before based on weather forecasts, historical usage, etc. Additionally, it must line up added standby electricity in case demand exceeds expectations. In lining up this electricity, the sources must be reliable and predictable – and wind thus cannot be included and is not included.


To ensure adequate supply in Maine, natural gas-made electricity is often lined up in the day ahead electricity market. Thus, when wind simply “happens” the next day, it is always an added and unnecessary layer over and above what has been already lined up. Until we can store it, this will be the case.


Ratepayers are forced to pay for this wind electricity, and because in doing so they are buying more than what is needed, they are wasting their money – this simple reality is what causes wind power to be so incredibly expensive.


Attempts can be made to cut back certain types of natural gas generators, but the practical reality is that the grid keeper just ignores wind’s contribution. And when they do try to mirror wind's ebb and flow with natural gas, the natural gas combustion produces excessive CO2, like an inefficient car in stop and go traffic. But in essence, the grid keeper, for whom wind is a worst nightmare, simply ignores wind's too little too late contribution.


The one place where it is not ignored is on our electric bills.
Also, because of this incompatibility with the grid, claims about displacement of fossil fuel and CO2 emissions in Maine are patently false.
 

 

Question

You refer to the Governor of Main and New Mexico as "Tea Party Governor(s)". Is that the party label they ran under or were they Democratic of Republican? Hard to tell from this biased article.

Governor LePage in Maine did

Governor LePage in Maine did NOT run as a Tea Party candidate. He ran as a Republican, which is what he is. I wondered myself why the author used "Tea Party". Either sloppy research and fact checking or an attempt to disparage, although for me, there is nothing wrong about citizens tryying to dislodge a suffocating overgrown government off their faces so they can breathe and live more freely.

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