Maine Superior Court asked to suspend 12/14/09 designation of Maine Offshore Wind Research Center.

Legal Action. Until new state wind rules are set and enforced during decision making, Maine’s Bureau of Parks and Lands has no business selecting and designating  Maine offshore wind energy test areas.Front page of petition sent to Maine Superior Court re monhegan offshore wind test area. R&D center. Jan 25, 2010 Local media coverage: Herald Gazette and Maine Public Radio News

That’s what conservation activist Ron Huber wants Maine Superior Court to confirm.   Huber filed in Knox County Superior Court on January 25, 2010 , asking Justice Jeffrey Hjelm to suspend Bureau of Parks & Lands  December 14, 2009 decision approving location of  the state’s  offshore wind energy test center 2 miles south of Monhegan, until conservation rules based on Maine’s new energy laws are finalized. The new laws, 12 MRSA 1868  “Identification of Offshore Wind test areas and  MRSA  35-A, Chapter  34-A: Expedited Permitting of Grid scale Wind Energy Development require close community coordination and a commitment by the  Wind Test Center to conduct detailed observation of ongoing  scenic and conservation impacts on the land, air and sea in the test area vicinity.

BPL’s Submerged Lands Program is otherwise setting poor precedent: absolving present developers in advance with a vague general permit when it comes to scenic and natural  resources of state and national significance; instead of defending the irreplaceable. Let the designers of the energy platforms make the compromises, not Nature. It is R&D the University proposes to practice here; let academics from all disciplines take part, not only the energy engineers.

A deep ecologist,  Huber asked Maine Superior Court to grant him standing based  on his religious pastoralism , or as he termed it “faith based bay stewardship.”   in the practice of which he has helped fend off  industrial threats to lobster grounds in lower Penobscot Bay and groundfish nurseries  and brackish water  diadromous fish staging areas in upper Penobscot Bay

rule on whether Maine Bureau of Parks & Lands Director Willard Harris followed  two recently passed staten on December 14, 2009, he authorized the Monhegan test area, one of three in Midcoast and southern Maine waters. Read Ron’s media briefing explaining why he decided to file the case, his relationship with Monhegan – and media reactions to the case so far.

The state university’s R&D  team should be as much  researching impacts to fish, bird , marine mammal and  water quality,  in addition to prototyping new  windblades for efficiency.  Scientists, engineers, biologists and naturalists  should  be gleaning every bit of social and -biological data out there, before during and after each project, not confining themselves to solving  engineering problems, important as they are.    Click picture of complaint’s first page  for complete 9 pg pdf of  legal petition filed January 25th.

Background. Maine’s Legislature and Executive Branch have authorized the University of Maine to occupy a roughly 2 square mile deepwater tract 2 miles “south and seaward” of Monhegan Island to test build two deepwater floating wind turbines: a 100 kilowatt wind tower and a ten kilowatt one. Funding sufficient to get the project underway has been secured. As politicians, agency staffers,  academics, entrepeneurs, NGOs and  even two high powered public relations firms are already hard at work on this, so too should the interested public be!   Information is power. Charge yourself up here: Links to documents, reports, charts, maps, photographs, deadlines, contacts, key personnel involved and other information sufficient to equip the viewer for meaningful involvement in this process, and provide a forum for the sharing and vetting of important information as it arises.

Voices of the Wind Rush. Online audio of speakers at Maine Offshore Energy ’09   11/29/09 , at Energy Ocean 2009  June 15-18 , ’09 at the 2009 ME Fishermen’s Forum Ocean Energy Workshop 3/7/09 and on  January 20, 2010:  speakers & legislators at hearing on wind energy bill LD 1504 before the Joint Standing Committee on Utilities and Energy

5 thoughts on “Maine Superior Court asked to suspend 12/14/09 designation of Maine Offshore Wind Research Center.

  1. excellent comment. much more than engeneering and potential wind energy needs to be considered when siting wind power projects.
    how do the lobsterman of monhegan feel about the potential future developments that these test turbines represent?

  2. ‘The lobstermen’ means several things: a. those licensed to fish in Monhegan waters; b. interest groups Maine Lobstermen’s Association and Downeast Lobstermen’s Association, and c. lobster scientists, many of whom live and breathe lobsters almost as much as the harvesters.

    Regarding “a” According to the herald gazette there was an Aug. 26 meeting with lobstermen and fishermen. Regarding “b” The assocatino is very worried about loss of access to the public commons. Regarding “c” at least one U Maine bioscientist today privately agreed with the particulars of my case.

  3. Thank you for covering this important issue. As someone who loves Monhegan and her inhabitants, I am worried.
    I am all for wind and solar power, but more for finding ways to reduce the need for more power sources in the first place.
    Thanks again.

    1. You’re very welcome! By the way, if you have made paintings of Monhegan land looking seaward to the south from Lobster Cove, Christmas Cove or Burnt Head, images of them (or links to images of them) that I could make available to decisionmakers and the media online or otherwise would be magnificently helpful in protecting that vista. See the state’s map of the wind testing area at the link.

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