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A coal wind blowing

I am writing to express dismay over Pete Didisheim’s attempt to tie wind development in Maine to the end of mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia. It’s clearly a desperate move to repair the eroding campaign by the NRCM to carpet rural Maine with wind turbines.

Given the small amount of coal used in New England for the production of electricity and the unlikeliness of wind supplanting coal use, this tactic is shameful and dishonest. Coal is mostly a base load supplier of electricity, which wind cannot duplicate.

Even if wind could offset fossil fuels to any degree, it would displace oil and gas, a fact echoed by RSG Inc. in a report prepared for the Conservation Law Foundation.

Mr. Didisheim states that about 10 percent of New England’s electricity comes from coal-fired generators. However, only about 1.3 percent of this electricity is generated by coal from states where mountaintop removal mining occurs.

Mr. Didisheim has partnered with Appalachian Voices, a group fighting mountaintop removal mining, to advance the NRCM wind advocacy effort. Oddly, the group’s website counters Didisheim’s claims. Supporting their opposition, the group cites the small, and declining, amount of electricity produced by mountaintop removal coal as a reason it wouldn’t be missed if the practice was stopped. They suggest actions that might help end mountaintop removal mining, asking visitors to seek passage of legislation that would resurrect Clean Water Act provisions that, if enforced, would stop mountaintop removal mining in its tracks.

There is no mention of wind turbines.

Alan Michka