When the Expedited Permitting Area was created as part of the Wind Energy Act of 2008, less than 1 percent of Maine residents abruptly lost an avenue to have meaningful input into questions of zoning. That “emergency legislation” summarily gave the wind industry an expedited path to change the future of our communities, whether or not we supported that change.
The Expedited Permitting Area was created behind closed doors. No minutes were taken of these meetings. The parties who created the Expedited Permitting Area consisted of former Gov. John Baldacci’s Wind Task Force, several environmental NGO’s and wind developers. Those few entities were the major drivers and designers of the rezoning of a large portion of rural Maine.
We – the people who live, work and play here – were not included in these secret meetings. We weren’t asked for our perspective. We weren’t sent notices about the creation of the Expedited Permitting Area. Without our input or knowledge, our hometowns were simply, quietly and immediately re-zoned as “industrial” – but for only one industry. Not all residents in unorganized territories, however, were treated thusly – just those of us who live in regions coveted by wind developers.
LD 828 will correct an egregious action; an action that removed a right to process from a few select rural residents in order to grant favor to one powerful industry.
LD 828 is a citizens’ rights bill. Voting to reinstate citizens’ rights is the ethical thing to do. The 127th Legislature has an opportunity to restore fairness to the people of Maine.
Karen Bessey Pease
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