by Pete Didisheim, NRCM advocacy director
Senator Bartlett, Representative Bliss, and members of the Utilities Committee, my name is Pete Didisheim. I am the Advocacy Director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine, I served as a member of the Governor’s Task Force on Wind Power Development, and I am here to testify in strong support of LD 2283.
Last spring, an opinion survey conducted by a Portland-based polling firm that by a margin of 85% to 11% Maine people support the development of wind power.
From these findings, we conclude that Maine people understand that wind power can help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, to improve our energy security, curb greenhouse gas emissions, and be the source of new jobs and economic benefits.
LD 2283 responds to these obvious needs by proposing a path forward that would make Maine a leader in wind power development.
The provisions of this bill represent consensus recommendations by a diverse group of stakeholders, some of whom have been on opposite sides of specific wind power proposals in the past. Achieving consensus is no easy task, but we did it here.
LD 2283 proposes ambitious but achievable goals for wind power development for the years 2015 and 2020. These goals are specifically proposed within a larger energy policy context, which must also include aggressive efforts to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from other sources.
LD 2283 would modernize the permitting process in Maine so that it makes sense for wind power and is consistently applied across state government.
The legislation would create an expedited review process that will help guide projects to the right areas in Maine. And the bill will help ensure that the right studies are done and that decision-makers and the interested public will have the right information for evaluating each proposed project.
The Task Force worked hard to strike the right balance between the need to develop clean, renewable energy and the need to protect Maine’s quality of place. In the same way that Maine people support wind power, they also want to protect the special features of our landscape that define Maine. NRCM has a strong organizational interest in both of these areas, and we firmly believe that the Task Force recommendations, and the provisions of LD 2283, strike the right balance. We urge your support for the bill.