The article covering the Natural Resources Council’s release of its latest poll (“Gutting environment laws gets little support in poll,” April 7) got my attention with its reported approval for wind energy development by eight out of 10 Mainers.
After taking a look at the actual poll results, the truth behind the misleadingly high approval was apparent. To get this exaggerated approval rating, the NRCM had to include the 36 percent of respondents who’d replied that they “somewhat support” wind power development.
Somewhat support? What does that mean? Maybe, the respondents support wind development as long as it’s not in their town? Perhaps, they support wind development in the ocean but not on mountaintops?
Maybe, they like community-scale wind power but not grid-scale? Maybe, they mean they’ll support wind development when its proponents finally prove that it’s worth the cost – monetarily, socially and environmentally? Who really knows what they mean? Apparently, no one asked.
Not surprisingly, the wind power question was buried toward the back of the report. It might have been a tacit acknowledgement of the shrinking support for wholesale, no questions asked, statutorily expedited degradation of Maine’s rural mountain assets. Mainers are waking up to the truth of wind development’s meager benefits for the price of extraordinarily negative impacts.
The NRCM should try polling those in rural Maine who are facing the reality of living with these intrusive projects. Poll one of the 20 or so Maine towns that have passed wind development moratoriums or restrictive siting ordinances (some unanimously); or wildlife biologists who don’t work for the wind industry; or business owners whose livelihoods depend on the natural and scenic character of rural Maine. See if you find 80 percent unequivocal support for wind power. I wouldn’t bet on it.
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