Grassroots organizations opposed to wind power development in Maine are joining forces.
They gathered Saturday for a summit of ideas on how to silence the turbines before they get started. Group members discussed several bills before the legislature. Those bills could slow down wind power development and answer questions that have been raised about the potential benefits and disadvantages. Developers say the potential environmental and economic benefits of wind power outweigh any negatives.
“When wind power developers come to Maine and invest almost a billion dollars in the state of Maine, they’re adding jobs, contruction jobs, permanent jobs,” Jackson Parker of wind developer Reed and Reed Inc. said. “They’re adding to the tax base. They’re adding to the economic impact throughout the economy, especially in some of the regions of the state that need this sort of development when times are tough.”
Those opposed to wind power don’t believe those economic benefits will last.
“I think it’s a question of the short run versus the long run,” said Clyde MacDonald of the Citizen’s Task Force on Wind Power. “It’s difficult for community leaders to oppose the large amounts of money and jobs being created now in the short run. But we have to look at what happens at the end of the fifth year. At the end of the fifth year all of the federal subsidies run out and the wind power will be forced to try to sell it on the open market, which it cannot do.”
More than one hundred twenty people from fourteen different organizations attended Saturday’s summit.