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‘Dirty Dozen’ roster reveals environmental group’s hypocrisy  

L.D. 1863 would have put hydropower on an equal "renewable" footing with wind power, for which the 100-megawatt cap has already been removed. The LCV opposed lifting the hydro limit to force Maine to continue using more wind power. The LCV's motives are mysterious, but the damage from its stance is clear. Wind power has been implicated in massive killings of bats and birds, including eagles, owls, hawks and other raptors that fly too close to the spinning blades while concentrating on prey. Moreover, installation of these huge turbines is causing major, irreversible damage to Maine's fragile mountaintops. Building roads and clearing and leveling the construction sites has resulted in serious down-drainage issues, washing eroded soil into our streams and rivers.

Credit:  By REP. HEATHER SIROCKI | Portland Press Herald | 6 October 2012 www.pressherald.com ~~

Now I know how it feels to have your character assassinated.

On Sept. 18, the Press Herald ran an article describing how I was named to a national “Dirty Dozen” list by the League of Conservation Voters (“Conservation group names Scarborough lawmaker to ‘Dirty Dozen'”). The story declared that I was one of “the most anti-environmental state-level candidates in the country.”

Maureen Drouin, Maine League of Conservation Voters president, was quoted as saying, “Rep. Sirocki has voted to damage our environment and natural resources at every turn.”

Then she got to her real point, stating, “There has never been a more urgent need to defeat politicians who stand with corporate polluters and oppose vital environmental safeguards.” She has planned a direct mail campaign into my district.

Then Hannah Pingree got into the act. The former Democratic House Speaker sent out a fundraising letter to “help us hold right-wing Republicans, like Rep. Sirocki, accountable for these dangerous votes.”

Democratic candidates, she wrote, “are working hard to ensure that extreme members, like Heather Sirocki, don’t have the opportunity to vote to weaken environmental protections ever again.”

Given the near-hysterical tone of these comments, you might think I personally went around the state poisoning wells and bulldozing sand dunes. My real “crime,” however, was voting against the league on 10 cherry-picked bills they selected for its legislative “scorecard.”

It would have been useful if the Press Herald had described all the bills in question. Reporter Steve Mistler never got around to that, but one of the bills, L.D. 1853, was sponsored by Rep. John Martin, D-Eagle Lake, and supported by three Democratic senators, including Joseph Brannigan of Portland, and 18 House Democrats, including their top two leaders, Emily Cain of Orono and Terry Hayes of Buckfield.

The bill merely directs the Department of Environmental Protection to update Maine’s archaic mining rules to current standards. As a major rule change, it will come back before the Legislature for a public hearing before taking effect.

It’s funny how the LCV didn’t put Martin, Brannigan, Cain or Hayes on their “Dirty Dozen” list, but that would have violated their hidden agenda of singling out Republicans for attack.

Another bill the LCV flagged as dastardly was L.D. 1647. It directs the Board of Environmental Protection and the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission to adopt rules governing standing for administrative appeals. As major rules, they will be subject to review by the Judiciary Committee.

Democrats voting for L.D. 1647 included Rep. George Hogan of Old Orchard Beach, Sen. Bill Diamond of Windham and Sen. Troy Jackson of Allagash. None of them made the “Dirty Dozen.”

For sheer hypocrisy, however, nothing can match the fight over L.D. 1863, “An Act to Lower the Price of Electricity for Maine Consumers.” It would have removed the 100-megawatt limit on energy resources that qualify under the state’s renewable energy mandate, the Renewable Portfolio Standard.

The Renewable Portfolio Standard was created in 1999 by then-Gov. Angus King. It requires that a certain percentage of Maine electricity come from expensive “green” energy sources, such as solar and wind.

Critics say that the RPS is forcing high power costs on Maine, when expanding our use of hydropower would be a much cheaper way to lower our carbon footprint. A report by the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University found that RPS mandates will raise Maine electricity prices by $145 million by 2017 while eliminating 995 jobs.

Nothing is cleaner, more abundant, more affordable or more renewable than power from water. Strangely, however, hydropower supplied by facilities with installed capacity of 100-megawatts was excluded by the RPS from the category of renewable energy. That means it doesn’t qualify for Renewable Energy Credits, subsidies received by power generators such as wind farms and the like.

L.D. 1863 would have put hydropower on an equal “renewable” footing with wind power, for which the 100-megawatt cap has already been removed. The LCV opposed lifting the hydro limit to force Maine to continue using more wind power.

The LCV’s motives are mysterious, but the damage from its stance is clear. Wind power has been implicated in massive killings of bats and birds, including eagles, owls, hawks and other raptors that fly too close to the spinning blades while concentrating on prey. Moreover, installation of these huge turbines is causing major, irreversible damage to Maine’s fragile mountaintops. Building roads and clearing and leveling the construction sites has resulted in serious down-drainage issues, washing eroded soil into our streams and rivers.

Maybe the LCV should be on its own “Dirty Dozen” list.

State Rep. Heather Sirocki, R-Scarborough, serves on the Health and Human Services Committee.

Source:  By REP. HEATHER SIROCKI | Portland Press Herald | 6 October 2012 www.pressherald.com

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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