LD 1810

Maine ocean windfarming bill passed into law: Monhegan & more distant offshore get the incentives

Several takes on the conclusion of LD 1810, An Act to Implement the Recommendations of the Governor’s Ocean Energy Task Force

What all  sources agree on is that the state  is leapfrogging over state waters to much windier  sites ten miles and more offshore for utility size windfarming. It is also noted that the state will not issue a solicitation for windfarms in state waters  – other than limited R&D in the three R&D sites – including off Monhegan. Malleable as all laws ultimately may be, everything could change, but right now Dr Dagher and the University of Maine-driven DeepCwind Consortium are in the ascendancy and their plan calls for going  over the horizon. Reached April 13th, Willard Harris, director of the submerged lands division of   the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, confirmed no state waters utility or community scale ocean wind farm applications are anticipated or even likely, beyond the R&Ds.

The bill in its final form is  ‘Public Law 615’.   html or word or pdf file It  is a mishmash of changes to a variety of state statutes. Listen to mp3 recordings of the   3/11/10 public hearing  on LD 1810_and its three worksessions.  Includes the March 6th ocean windfarm seminar at 2010 Maine Fishermens Forum.

Maine Lobstermen’s Association April 2010  newsletter has two oceanwindmill articles

Offshore Wind Wire writer Peter Brennan:  “Maine Legislation amended to focus on deepwater wind

Penobscot Bay Blog on “Wind Liberation “

Key Maine legislators tell committee: No windfarms in state waters – bad for fishermen. Monhegan discussed

Thursday March 11th, the Legislature’s Utility and Energy Committee held its  public hearing on LD 1810.

Listen to the legislators and testimony  to them by MDEP,  DMR, Neptune Energy & other would-be wind industrialists, and opponents and supporters of the same. Lance Burton describes  to legislators his life on Monhegan and in Castine and what that makes him think about the bill. LD 1810

Hats off to legislators Leila Percy and Hannah Pingree for insisting on mammoth changes to the bill (2 minute mp3) in response to outrage from theirscalloping shrimping and groundfishing constituents. Specifically, they told the committee to

(1) Turn LD 1810 into a  Resolve directing  Marine Resources Committee and Natural  Resources  legislative committee to take it  to their  commercial fishing constituents recreational fishermen, scenic activists, birders, next session in 2011 to see if the people want this to happen and let the legislators decide from that, not just get a 38 page bill   foisted upon them late in the session, and be told to just bite the bullet and approve it anyway.
OR

Boston-based Neptune Wind exec to Legislators: I want your state's waters

(2) Remove everything from  LD 1810 that would promote  or facilitate commercial windfarm leasing anywhere in Maine state waters.  Then approve the remainder of the bill. this would continue to keep the wind industry happy by giving it tax breaks, if they locate in federal waters outside state waters.  Because it costs a lot more to locate out there.  tax break or not,l keeping them out of Maine state waters – which as the Maine Lobsterman’s Association noted at the hearing  there will be many less entrepeneurs rushing to Maine and grabbing leases.  (The heating oil  industry wants to strip out other non-ocean related parts of the bill)

It is as if a mighty iceberg headed at the Maine inshore fisheries’ Titanic is being successfully turned, by those answering the alarm that now is ringing in desperate peals from Passamaquoddy Bay  to f the Piscataqua. For, if  diverted a few degrees with relentless pressure,   it may harmlessly  pass by our waters, an icy white horseman heading  for some other apocalyptic encounter.

The word from outer Penobscot groundfishers, shrimpesr and scallopers is to either can the bill or

If you care to be involved –  for, against, or neutral – email the Utility& Energy Committee clerk Krisen Gottlieb  Kristen.Gottlieb@legislature.maine.gov  and the Marine Resources  Committee clerk  Marianne Macmaster Marianne.MacMaster@legislature.maine.gov  and let them know of your opinion or insight; they will  get your message to their committees’ members.

Listening as Leila Percy testifies at the hearing