Statement by NRCM Climate and Clean Energy Director Dylan Voorhees
“Today, Governor LePage told clean energy investors that Maine is ‘Not Open for Business.’ LePage placed an open-ended unilateral moratorium on development of wind power in Maine. LePage created a secret panel with enormous power to prevent wind power from being developed in Maine. He said no to any and all wind power permits until a report is submitted to the governor, and set no due date for the report. Furthermore, he has shielded the panel’s proceedings from Maine’s Freedom of Access Act, which is outrageous.
“Like many of the governor’s other attacks on renewable energy, ultimately this ill-conceived Executive Order will not prevail. But, unfortunately in the near-term it may have the desired effect, which is to show potential clean energy investors that Maine is not ‘Open for Business.’
“Maine’s Wind Energy Act was created through a public process by the Legislature and a Task Force operating in the public, and can be amended by a public process. As a result, it is fair, balanced policy that provides predictability for developers and protects natural resources. NRCM strongly supports reasonable efforts to protect our natural resources and recreation economy; evaluating impacts to those resources is part of the existing environmental permitting process.
“This is the same governor who blew Maine’s best shot at a multi-billion dollar offshore wind industry when he pulled out of the StatOil agreement. Now he is determined to ban onshore wind power development, which has huge potential and has already brought more than $400 million in investment and hundreds of jobs to Maine.
“The timing of the announcement is suspicious, and appears to be aimed at undermining bids by Maine wind power projects in a clean energy Request for Proposals by Massachusetts and therefore to give an advantage to a proposal from Central Maine Power to transport Canadian hydropower through western Maine. It is bizarre and unfortunate that the governor continues to take action to harm renewable energy development that benefits Maine’s economy by promoting renewable energy from Canada.”