Critic resigns from Maine commission over lack of ‘urgency’

Source: By Associated Press • Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2018

A critic of wind turbines is resigning his seat on Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s secretive Maine Wind Energy Advisory Commission, saying he’s served more than four months without any meeting.

Chris O’Neil said in a letter that the commission “lacks urgency, credibility and focus.”

The Portland Press Herald reports that it’s the third departure in recent months from the panel that LePage exempted from the state’s right-to-know law.

LePage says the commission will move on despite the departures.

He told the Associated Press yesterday he thinks Maine’s fast-tracked wind permitting law should be repealed. He said he hopes his wind commission will hold a meeting.

A LePage executive order in January said his administration was putting a hold on new wind energy projects in western and coastal Maine. But his administration later told a judge that it was ignoring LePage’s order.

Maine generates more wind power than all of the other New England states combined, with 378 turbines carrying a maximum generation capacity of roughly 900 megawatts.

Supporters argue the industry has brought more than $1 billion in investment and created thousands of jobs, the vast majority during construction. Critics say wind power is still too expensive, and that ratepayers shouldn’t be burdened.