It is encouraging that so many people in Maine are eager and willing to learn more about the industrial-sized wind turbines rapidly appearing on the state’s mountains. Many are well-informed and willing to share what they know.
While staffing the Friends of the Highland Mountains booth at the Common Ground Fair, I saw fairgoers take full advantage of a factual and relevant display, well-documented literature and a DVD depicting the threats to the lives of some Highlanders who could be condemned to live under 48 40-story turbines.
Our volunteers were well-received, having almost a year’s worth of factual research to offer. It was a pleasant surprise to find so many people seriously concerned about the loss of Maine’s natural resources and quality of place, and the impending loss of tourism dollars.
They understand the small and uncertain gains in electricity production could be achieved by simple efficiency measures. Every Mainer could benefit from federal subsidies, not just a few wealthy developers, through much-needed weatherization upgrades.
They realize the turbine construction jobs are temporary and the permanent jobs few. They voiced their disgust that the governor signed the expedited permitting law as emergency legislation, allegedly for the safety and public health of Mainers, yet the electricity is for the benefit of southern New England. Maine already has an impressive renewable energy portfolio.
Gone is the myth that wind turbines will reduce foreign oil dependence. They have armed themselves with the knowledge that less than 2 percent of America’s electricity needs are met with oil. Many are afraid, deep inside their hearts, that transmission lines and turbines threaten land for which they have toiled so determinedly.
Civic interest is alive in Maine. People are wisely no longer taking developers’ and politicians’ words as fact.