Last week, the Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee held a public hearing on Sen. Justin Alfond’s bill “An Act to Amend the Maine Administrative Procedure Act and Clarify Wind Energy Laws” (L.D. 1750). Alfond’s appearance at the hearing cemented his allegiance to his wind cronies.
During his impassioned presentation, Alfond voiced displeasure with critics who’ve questioned the ethical standing of his sponsorship of L.D. 1750. For a moment, his voice cracked.
He then turned and threw Commissioner Patricia Aho and the Department of Environmental Protection under the bus, charging the DEP with unreliability, inconsistency and a lack of transparency when evaluating his cronies’ wind permits. He implored the committee to correct this overreach – selling hard for his friends behind the curtain.
So, why is Alfond committed to a bill that benefits only one industry and seriously impacts the rights of citizens many miles from Portland?
What if the shoe were on the other foot? How would he respond to plans for erecting 450-foot turbines on Peaks or Great Diamond islands? Would he command the commissioner to stop this travesty, construct new rules and deny the permit? Or would he sell his cronies’ windmills to his constituents?
If enacted, L.D. 1750 will be a blow to the heart of Maine’s legislative integrity, and Alfond’s fingerprints and those of his cronies will be on the knife – a brazen attack subverting citizens’ rights and the DEP’s mandate to protect our environment.
Alfond complains about our criticism, but his sponsorship of L.D. 1750 begs tough questions regarding the cleanliness of his advocacy and the efficacy of his leadership.
To help the young senator reclaim his moral compass, members of the House and Senate, if either get to vote on his bill, must vote “no” and reaffirm that Maine is not for sale.
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