On Tuesday, November 8th, Maine Citizens for Clean Energy workers will be at polling places statewide, seeking signatures for a referendum which, if enacted, would mandate where utilities buy the electricity that they supply to Maine customers. The referendum would also force utilities to “invest” in energy efficiency measures.
“This will be an environmental and economic disaster for Maine,” said Chris O’Neil, president of Friends of Maine’s Mountains, an environmental organization which is leading the way in protecting Maine’s mountains and citizens from the harmful impacts of grid-scale industrial wind turbine developments. O’Neil’s statement came in response to the Election Day effort being organized by the new activist group.
“We urge voters to think before they sign petitions calling for this citizens’ referendum targeted for the November 2012 ballot,” O’Neil said. “These referendum questions always look like Mom and Apple Pie, but the details can be scary.”
“To foist additional idealistic mandates on companies like Bangor Hydro and CMP will cost real dollars foreveryone in Maine. And certainly, it will cause further harm to our wild areas with the construction of unnecessary infrastructure like 400-500 foot tall wind turbines on our mountain ridges and hundreds of miles of new transmission lines cut through our forests.”
FMM welcomes citizen activism and the group stops short of calling for citizens to resist signing petitions, but it urges voters to insist on sound science and economics in public policy measures. “We are not convinced that this proposal makes any sense whatsoever, so it would be dangerous to put it out to a statewide vote.”
“This referendum appears to be based on a belief that wind power can both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce our already high electricity costs when in fact it can do neither,” O’Neil said. “The future of Maine’s environment and economy deserves better than mandated policies which are based on a belief in presumed benefits rather than proven data.”
At the Jay Chamber of Commerce breakfast last week, Governor Paul LePage said that this referendum was a “bad deal.” LePage said that an existing mandate has already put Maine’s electric rates at 12th in the Nation.
FMM urges citizens to educate themselves on this very important issue, and to give the topic serious consideration before signing the petition.
Friends of Maine’s Mountains 284 Main Street, Ste. 200, Wilton, Maine 04294 (207)-645-3699