Testimony in Support of LD 1591, An Act to Promote Economic Reuse of Contaminated Land Through Clean Energy Development
Senator Lawrence, Representative Zeigler, members of the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee, my name is Jack Shapiro, and I am the Climate and Clean Energy Director at the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM). NRCM has been working for more than 60 years to protect, restore, and conserve Maine’s environment, on behalf of our 25,000 members and supporters. I’m here today to testify in support of LD 1591, An Act to Promote Economic Reuse of Contaminated Land Through Clean Energy Development.
It’s relatively rare to be able to testify in support of legislation that is so clearly a win-win.
It is well established that we must transition away from fossil fuel use to reduce the carbon emissions that cause climate change. This will require significant new renewable energy sources, both to displace existing fossil fuel power generation, but also to meet the new electricity loads from electric cars and trucks and electrified heating technologies.
Solar energy, especially competitively procured solar, is not only the cheapest new renewable energy source available to us, it’s the cheapest new energy source available to us period. While solar creates no direct pollution, it does take up a lot of space compared to other sources of power generation, which can lead to development pressure on working and natural lands.
At the same time, Maine is grappling with the issue of PFA-contaminated land. Hundreds of farmers across the state are learning that their land cannot be used for agriculture, and that there is no way to remediate this contamination – an unspeakable loss for anyone connected with their land, but with enormous economic implications as well.
The procurement in LD 1591 would be open to all previously developed or impacted land, such as brownfields or industrial sites, and importantly would also be open to PFAS-contaminated land, providing an economic lifeline to landowners contending with contamination, while bringing new low-cost renewable energy onto Maine’s grid.
Our energy transition challenges us in many ways, but not every decision needs to be challenging. This bill, by promoting the re-use of contaminated land through renewable energy projects that guarantee ratepayer savings will help us achieve multiple goals at the same time, and it deserves your support.
We urge you to vote Ought to Pass on LD 1591, and I would be happy to answer any questions that you have.