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Wind-power proposals set aside  

Credit:  By Tux Turkel, Staff Writer, Morning Sentinel, www.onlinesentinel.com 6 May 2011 ~~

AUGUSTA – Thirteen proposed bills meant to modify Maine’s wind power policies were set aside on Thursday in favor of a single yet-to-be determined measure that will be considered soon by the full Legislature.

The action came as members of the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee wrestled with how to handle a flood of proposals that included a moratorium on new projects, tougher rules to regulate turbine noise and bids to protect the property values of homes near wind farms. They decided to hold on to one bill – a broad provision to amend the Maine Wind Energy Act – and use it as a vehicle to carry along ideas from the other bills that win support.

Which ideas make the cut won’t be known until at least Tuesday. That’s when the committee has scheduled a second work session on the wind bills. These measures were drafted by foes of commercial wind energy, many who live near operating and proposed wind farms. The proposals represented their best hope this year of slowing the pace and scope of the industry in Maine and diluting the substance of the Wind Energy Act, passed three years ago in the Legislature as a way to speed up wind development in Maine.

Which ideas make the cut won’t be known until at least Tuesday. That’s when the committee has scheduled a second work session on the wind bills. These measures were drafted by foes of commercial wind energy, many who live near operating and proposed wind farms. The proposals represented their best hope this year of slowing the pace and scope of the industry in Maine and diluting the substance of the Wind Energy Act, passed three years ago in the Legislature as a way to speed up wind development in Maine.

These efforts, however, have been strongly opposed by business interests and the Republican administration of Gov. Paul LePage, which points to the industry’s contribution to economic development. Supporters also have been joined by some environmental groups that favor greater use of renewable energy.

The largest number of scuttled bills dealt with noise and appearance issues. Noise tops the list of complaints from those living near wind farms.

Source:  By Tux Turkel, Staff Writer, Morning Sentinel, www.onlinesentinel.com 6 May 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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