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FMM consultant resigns from governor’s wind commission

Thanking Governor Paul LePage for the “honor” of being appointed, Chris O’Neil has withdrawn from the controversial Maine Wind Energy Advisory Commission. O’Neil is a private consultant and lobbyist who has represented Friends of Maine’s Mountains (FMM) since 2009.

“While I was the governor’s appointee,” O’Neil said, “it might have appeared that my participation on the Commission was on behalf of FMM. So I consulted with the FMM board of directors before submitting my resignation, and they concurred with me.”

FMM President Brad Blake praised O’Neil’s decision. “FMM has many irons in many fires at this time, and it makes sense for Chris to focus his finite time and energy on those matters which are most pressing.”

FMM is an intervenor in two adjudicatory proceedings: the RoxWind case at the Department of Environmental Protection and the CMP-Hydro Quebec case at the Public Utilities Commission. O’Neil is also monitoring the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities as it adjudicates the CMP-Hydro Quebec procurement. FMM also anticipates multiple wind development applications that have been mothballed could start to reappear because the CMP-Hydro Quebec project seems to be stalling.

“Chris O’Neil is FMM’s liaison to over 300 legislative and gubernatorial candidates, and with elections just weeks away, he has lots of educating to do,” Blake added. “It just made sense to invest FMM’s resources where they stand to yield the highest returns.”

Blake praised LePage for taking the wind threat seriously, and for the courage to speak out against it, but he agrees with O’Neil that the Wind Energy Advisory Commission is unlikely to produce results. “We’ve been studying the folly of wind energy for a decade, and we really don’t need another study that kicks the can down the proverbial road while wind developers continue their assault on Maine. What we need,” Blake said, “is simply a repeal of the heinous Expedited Wind Act.”

O’Neil’s letter to the governor is a public document, so FMM has decided to publish it HERE.

FMM’s comment to the Commission can be found HERE.