Franklin Countys First News

Letter to the Editor: Who represents us?

On Wednesday, I sat through the LURC Commissioners’ meeting in Bangor. My primary interest was to hear former senator Peter Mills’ explanation of LD1504, An Act to Provide Predictable Benefits to Maine Communities That Host Wind Energy Developments. Hoping to hear a detailed explanation of the new statute delivered to and dissected by the commissioners, I went away disappointed. Instead there was a short explanation of the bill’s history, a brief discussion of a single item within the statute, and a healthy dose of fawning over the bill’s authors, identified by Mills as wind industry representatives and the Natural Resource Council of Maine’s Pete Didisheim - perhaps, the most exuberant promoters of mountaintop wind development in the state.

To his credit, on a peripherally related subject, Mills did suggest that it might be inappropriate to use TIFs to help finance wind developers’ projects. I’ve heard the same sentiment from other legislators with whom I’ve communicated. They’re right. It's an egregious misuse of this program that shifts a financial burden to non-participating towns to help finance an already heavily subsidized industry. Finally, the veil is being lifted on the abuse of TIFs by the wind industry and their governmental partners.

However, Mills stated clearly to the commissioners that he and his colleagues in the 123rd Legislature made the decision of “sacrificing our mountaintops” as a contribution to the “greater good.” His follow up bill, LD1504, set the price tag for that sacrifice. According to Mills, the wind industry and the NRCM “negotiated” this price. There you have it; Maine’s mountaintops sold, or “sacrificed,” for an ambiguous greater good – no firm evidence that any real good would be accomplished was required or revealed in the legislation – at a price set by the most avid promoters of mountaintop wind development in Maine. Hear the audio transcripts yourself at LURC’s website. I’d like to thank Peter Mills for finally making this crystal clear publicly. I realize now how Maine government actually works and for whom it works. Neither the wind industry nor the NRCM represents my interests. I'm beginning to wonder who does.
 

Alan Michka
Lexington, ME

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4 Responses »

  1. The whole TIFF program should be scrapped. for any business.
    The state already did away with personal property taxes for businesses. Big Businesses will not stop until , we are paying them to come here. Oh wait we already are and they still say we have a bad business climate

  2. You are very right to be concerned, Alan. The last industrial wind facility development that was denied was Redington and Black Nubble in 2007 or 2008.
    There is a very important point the commissioners forgot to remember during their deliberations on Sisk, Wednesday, The Wind Act does not trump the values and regulations put forth in the CLUP and Chapter 10, standards for development. Tangible Benefits is short and underhanded way to ask, "how much is it going to cost me to get a permit?

  3. I'm from away so I don't have a very thorough understanding of how things work in Maine. Please help me out here. This letter says that "according to Mills, the wind industry and the NRCM 'negotiated' this price". As I understand it, NRCM stands for National Resources Council of Maine. That sounds pretty official and authoritative. But I recently noticed that their website address ends in dot-org, not dot-gov. Curious about this, I visited their website to find out exactly who they are.

    Much to my surprise, NRCM is not a government organization at all. Buried very deep in their website, as the very last sentence at the foot of the page describing their history (who reads that?), it states "NRCM is the Maine state affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation".

    So can anyone explain to me why Maine allows a non-profit group that has no government affiliation to negotiate the amount of the bribe Maine will accept in return for allowing wind developers to castrate Maine's tourist economy?? Really! I can't think of any other instance where the National Wildlife Federation is given such power. Maybe I'm just stupid, but can anyone explain this to me?

  4. ita all about kick backs ,,,,,, but it creates jobs right , i wish they would put some wind mills on my land,,

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