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Maine Governor Proposes 63 Clean Energy and Environment Reversals

The new Tea Party governor says businesses are on the endangered species list, but opponents say his proposals will harm the state's nature-based economy

By Maria Gallucci

Jan 31, 2011

Maine's new Tea Party governor is drawing the ire of environmental groups and health advocates, who charge that his proposed set of 63 regulatory rollbacks would threaten the state's nature-based economy and hamper its bold climate change efforts.

"Maine has been a real leader when it comes to these issues … and [the proposals] would put us at the back end," Nathaniel Meyer, a field associate with Environment Maine, told SolveClimate News.

Gov. Paul LePage unveiled his list of proposed cutbacks on Jan. 21, after conducting a series of "red-tape" audits with businesses and chambers of commerce to single out government rules that could be holding back business development in Maine.

"Job creation and investment opportunities are being lost because we do not have a fair balance between our economic interests and the need to protect the environment," LePage said in a statement accompanying the proposals.

In a later speech on Jan. 26, he declared: "My message to the regulators in the state is that family-owned businesses, mid-size businesses and large businesses in the state of Maine are on the endangered species list; and that we must defend the private sector the same way that the environmentalists are protecting the tree frogs and Canadian lynx."

The actions by the newly elected Republican leader follow those of New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, also backed by the Tea Party, whose swift, post-election efforts to block rules requiring greenhouse gas curbs in that state were shot down last week by the State Supreme Court.

In Maine, the legislative Committee on Regulatory Fairness and Reform, a bipartisan team of 15 legislators tasked with writing the LD 1 omnibus regulatory reform bill, is currently reviewing the proposals.

A press officer for LePage told SolveClimate News that the governor would not comment on the proposals, as they are still under review. The governor's office has tentatively scheduled a press conference this week to address opposition to his plan.

GHG Rules: 'No Room for a Backslide'

Opponents say that LePage's plans to take environmental regs off the books would reduce or reverse four decades' worth of 20 different laws to protect air and water quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote wind energy development.

"Climate change is going to be a huge threat to Maine's identity and to maintaining a strong economy and man’s quality of life," Meyer said. "There is no room for a backslide because there is so much more work to be done."

Maine has excelled nationally in its efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions, advocates say. In 2003, it became one of the first states to set into statute an emissions-reduction mandate, requiring an 80 percent cut from 2003 levels by 2050.

In 2005, under Gov. John Baldacci, Maine joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a mandatory U.S. cap-and-trade program for carbon dioxide. Since the first RGGI auction in 2008, Maine's share to date is $23.5 million in carbon credit sales to power plants, the majority of which has funded more than a dozen state energy-efficiency programs.

Meyer said that LePage had previously expressed interest in removing Maine from RGGI, and that the governor's proposal to shut down the Board of Environmental Protection would make it harder to hold businesses and power plants accountable for violating federal and state regulations on greenhouse gas emissions and toxic air pollution.

Wind Power, Forestry Goals at Risk

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If there is one thing that

If there is one thing that gets under my skin is people who get all up in arms and sue people over perceived defamation of character and then those same people say the worst possible things about the tea party.

I also agree on the hypocrisy of the environmentalists!

 

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Envoronmental Hypocrites

There is one thing I despise more than anything else and that is hypocrisy.  The so-called environmentalists are quoted throughout this article wanting to protect the beauty and natural resources of Maine and they unfairly tar the new Governor as being the destroyer-in-chief.  However, these same people promote the proliferation of sprawling industrial wind sites throughout rural Maine.


Hypocrites!  Is blasting away 350 miles of Maine's uplands for an industry that wouldn't exist without heavy taxpayer subsidies protecting Maine's natural resources?  Whining about Gov. LePage and the carbon sequestering forest when LePage hasn't cut a single tree but 50,000+ acres of forest will be scalped to make way for turbines that don't even put out 25% of capacity in Maine's poor wind?  Isn't lining ridges with nearly 2,000 turbines each 389 to 435 feet tall (3 times taller than the tallest building in Maine) with 60 to 100 ton nacelles and blade sweeps wider than the wing span of the largest jets the epitome of industrialization of the Maine rural area?


So, Sean Mahoney, you are the biggest hypocrite this side of Angus King and John Baldacci with your whining about LePage seeking to dismantle statutory and regulatory changes that provide incentives for renewable energy projects--that is, your darling useless wind turbines.  If you sincerely cared about Maine’s environment, you would never want to see one of these put up anywhere.


The runner up for biggest hypocrite in this story is Maureen Drouin who touts the value of Maine’s tourism, recreation and wildlife-related recreation.  That is very true and Gov. LePage is not going to wreak that.  What will wreak it is ringing our beautiful inland tourism areas with sprawling industrial turbines and the accompanying wildlife habitat fragmentation and the disruption of wildlife—and humans—by both the audible noise and low frequency sound waves emanating from industrial wind turbines.  Drouin’s group also foolishly promotes the folly of wind turbines.


So, just who or what is the bigger threat to the resources of rural Maine?  I’m with Gov. LePage on this and fervently hope that with his pledge to support only those energy solutions that are cost effective and will help lower electricity costs to Maine people and businesses that the road to ruin with wind turbines will end.


 

Thanks

Good letter. You saved me from hen pecking it out. As I watch the turbines go up from my once pristine view I am positive wind turbines are wrong for the great state of Maine. The pittance of power is a sad joke and I would not be surprised if the windsprawl use more than they make much of the time. Anyone supporting industrial wind turbines should never claim to be an environmentalist. LePage got a lot of votes from those who wanted windsprawl stopped and Libby M. stated she was FOR the monstrosities. I may agree with little else LePage may say or do but the windsprawl must stop soon. 

Translation

When a Tea Party supported governer says "balance environmental and business protection", they really mean destroying environmental laws to let corporations pollute without limit.

Le Page is spot on

Outside environmentalists have sold their soul to BIG WIND FARMING CORPORATIONS like First Wind and corrupted the public decisionmaking process, as well as destroying the 'forever wild' designation many of us have worked for decades to make the dominant public goal.

Deals were made; KURT ADAMS and former governor ANGUS KING's son have gotten rich from stock and other deals in  a highly questionable manner.

Basically we are disgused with groups like the Conservation Law Foundation, with their exclusive retreats outside of freeport and the Natural Resources Council of Maine.

Gov. LePage is right to link verifiable, objective evidence of climate change with REGI goals.....and if it isn't obvious; then REGI and the bevy of carbon traders need to be shown the door.

Mainers simply won't buy expensive wind energy, when they can follow in Vermont's footsteps and buy QUEBEC HYDRO for 6 cents/KwH and be assured  the price will hold up for 20 years.

 

Stop Big Wind In Maine

Where is the proof that, "Maine has excelled nationally in its efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions"?? How is this supposedly being measured? and by who?


Hopefully Gov. LePage will end the senseless, environmentally destructive, industrialization of Maines mountains by subsidized wind developers. 


Use Less


 


 

Alternative

Would you rather have Maine get its electricity from coal obtained through mountain top removal mining? That is way more harmful to mountains than wind turbines.

Irrelevant

Maine doesn't get any of its electricity from mountaintop coal mining or coal mining period.


The reality is that wind turbines produce relatively little electricity as there is just not that much energy density in wind compared to other sources. But even worse, the electricity that does get produced is always after the fact.


 The reason that wind power is so expensive is that it is not compatible with the grid and such compatibility could be 30 years off, if that. The grid must line up in advance sufficient electricity to meet demand, which can be forecasted quite accurately the day before based on weather forecasts, historical usage, etc. Additionally, it must line up added standby electricity in case demand exceeds expectations. In lining up this electricity, the sources must be reliable and predictable – and wind thus cannot be included and is not included.


To ensure adequate supply in Maine, natural gas-made electricity is often lined up in the day ahead electricity market. Thus, when wind simply “happens” the next day, it is always an added and unnecessary layer over and above what has been already lined up. Until we can store it, this will be the case.


Ratepayers are forced to pay for this wind electricity, and because in doing so they are buying more than what is needed, they are wasting their money – this simple reality is what causes wind power to be so incredibly expensive.


Attempts can be made to cut back certain types of natural gas generators, but the practical reality is that the grid keeper just ignores wind’s contribution. And when they do try to mirror wind's ebb and flow with natural gas, the natural gas combustion produces excessive CO2, like an inefficient car in stop and go traffic. But in essence, the grid keeper, for whom wind is a worst nightmare, simply ignores wind's too little too late contribution.


The one place where it is not ignored is on our electric bills.
Also, because of this incompatibility with the grid, claims about displacement of fossil fuel and CO2 emissions in Maine are patently false.
 

 

Question

You refer to the Governor of Main and New Mexico as "Tea Party Governor(s)". Is that the party label they ran under or were they Democratic of Republican? Hard to tell from this biased article.

Governor LePage in Maine did

Governor LePage in Maine did NOT run as a Tea Party candidate. He ran as a Republican, which is what he is. I wondered myself why the author used "Tea Party". Either sloppy research and fact checking or an attempt to disparage, although for me, there is nothing wrong about citizens tryying to dislodge a suffocating overgrown government off their faces so they can breathe and live more freely.

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