Mar 14, 2010

Maine Ocean Wind Energy Bill - Shrink it or Sink it! Here's how.

Groundfishermen, scallopers, shrimpers!  Striper & bluefish anglers! Sea Kayakers & Windjammers!
Your future will be decided on Thursday March 18, 2010, when the Maine legislature decides  whether to open Maine's nearshore state waters to wind energy leasing, when it holds a work session on  LD 1810 An Act to Implement the Recommendations of the Governor's Ocean Energy Task Force  

Tell Maine legislators to either cut LD 1810 down from 38 pages to one paragraph. turn it into a "resolve", or kill it.     Information on  what to do, below

Are you a friend of continued commercial and recreational fishing in Maine state waters?

A careful reading of the state waters windfarm expansion  bill  LD 1810   leads to the conclusion that it is mostly not worth saving. After reading  the review details, below, tell your legislators to either
(1) turn it into a Resolve,  
(2) cut the bill down from 38 pages down to one page, or 
(3) give it an Ought Not To Pass.

Keep the pressure on Augusta from now to Thursday afternoon, and Maine's irreplaceable state waters commercial fishing grounds will be safe 
(See the suggestions on what to do, below.)

Thursday afternoon, March 18th,  is when the Utility and Energy Committee will decide what, if any version of the bill LD 1810  will come out of their committee for a vote by the full legislature.
At the end of the March 11th hearing  on this bill, the U/E Committee was committed to seriously amending it,  for two reasons. Fisheries protection and the oil heat industry.
THE PLAN To protect Maine fishermen from losing fishing grounds to wind farm encroachment, sections of the LD 1810  relating to state waters must be deleted. This means delete everything in the bill but the following section in Part A: 
" 35-A MRSA §3402, sub-§3  is added:
3.  Transition to more efficient energy sources for home heating and transportation.   The Legislature finds that replacement of motor vehicles and conversion of residential and commercial heating systems in previously weatherized structures to more efficient energy sources, including electric heat pumps and electric motor vehicles, furthers state goals regarding energy independence and reduction of overall energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions and furthers the State's ocean and other renewable energy resources goals, including those established in section 3404, subsection 2.  "
Note this part of the bill if strongly opposed by the home oil heating contractors of Maine and they will probably get rid of it.

All the rest of the bill either (1) opens up Maine fishing grounds to leasing for windfarms or (2) lets wind companies "take" shorefront and inland private property to get their wind electricity cables ashore and transported via power towers as far inland  as needed to join the National Grid. 
There is no way to safely untangle any other part of the bill without the wind industry  investors from Boston and New Jersey using it to lease up to a 1000 square miles of  Maine's fishing grounds by 2012
THE PREDICTION The combination of opposition by Maine fishermen and by Maine heating oil people should be enough to KILL THE BILL. 
As a Compromise you could tell them to pass the bill as a resolution or resolve, then send  the ideas in it to all the groups, organizations and legislative committees like Marine Resources that pertain to or make up the saltwater commercial and sport fishing industries, and come back to the legislature in 2012 with whatever those various interests and communities have decided is acceptable.
Getting the legislators to gut the bill or convert it to a harmless resolve is possible because of the pressure you fishermen have already put on the politicians you have contacted. It has made them take notice. Speaker of the House Hannah Pingree,  Marine Resources Committee chair Leila Percy, and many other legislators are standing up for you. 
But to be sure, we need to keep the politicians doing the right thing all the way to the end of the work session Thursday. The wind industry's  mouthpieces areworking hard at stopping you from succeeding.  Send legislators emails. Phone them at home or in Augusta before Thursday afternoon.  Both are really powerful.  Email addresses and phone#s below, and a summary of things to tell them
Email and phone the two committees of the legislature:

Be sure to mention LD 1810 in the email subject line 
* Send it to the Utility and Energy Committee Clerk Kristen Gottlieb .Ask her to forward it to the committee's members. She will.  Tell the committee members that the bill is too risky to your livelihood and needs to be either turned into a resolve or given an Ought Not To Pass,
* Do the same for the Marine Resources Committee Clerk Marianne Be sure to mention LD 1810 in the subject line
Ask Marianne to forward your email to her committee's members. In your email tell the Marine Resources Committee that it needs to hold hearings on this bill next year, since the Utility/Energy committee doesn't know a thing about fisheries, and shouldn't be trusted with deciding Maine fishermen's future.

Call and email your personal  state legislators Leaving a message for your legislator at any of these numbers makes a huge difference, when they talk to members of the Utility and Marine Resources Committees.   Do it!
List of all senators: Emails click here (207) 287-1540 message line
All Representatives Emails click Here (207) 287-1400 message
Tell them to 
(1) amend the bill by cutting away everything dealing with leasing state waters for windfarming. This cuts LD 1810 from 36 pages to 1 paragraph. Leave the state waters issues to be considered  AFTER the coastal fisheries and communities have weighed in on the wording, in 2012
Or (2)  turn the full LD 1810 bill into a Resolve, and run it past the fishing and sailing communities as well as the Marine Resources and Natural Resources committees for a year with legislation coming up in 2012;
Or (3) vote LD 1810 Ought Not to Pass Send it to Davy Jones' Locker, where it belongs. 
Our politicians are getting a lot of flack and pressure from the wind industry. As long as you contact as many of them as you have time to, once or twice more before the Thursday work session on the bill, the Legislature will not do anything they understand might risk Maine's fisheries getting overwhelmed by a sprawl of wind leases in state waters.  
They should be told again and again, the bill is too much, too risky, and too late in the session.   Either give it an Ought Not to Pass, Amputate it of all state waters sections,  or Turn it into a resolve. Nothing else is acceptable
 PS Here are recordings from the March 11, 2010  hearing on LD 1810
*  Introduction 7 minutes 
Senator Hobbins Sponsor of LD 1810 6 min
Representative Leila Percy, Co chair Marine Resources Committee 2 min
Beth Nagusky MDEP Energy Office 12 min
Beth Nagusky questioned 18 min
Senator Kevin Raye 8 min
Rep Stacey Fitts, Co sponsor 12 min
Rep Seth Berry 4:17 min
George Lapointe. DMR  6 min
George Lapointe Q & A  5 min
Chuck Digate, Neptune Wind 
Chuck Digate, Neptune Q&A
Bob Baynes. Lobsterman  2 min
Shawn Mahoney, CLF  7 min
John Ferland, Ocean Renewable Power Co  9 min
Lance Burton of Castine 3 min
Bill Staby, Resolute Energy  4min
J. Monroe, Blue Water Dynamos  11 min
Ron Huber, Penobscot Bay Watch 7 min

* Bob Moore, Dead River Oil, 11 min
* Ned Bulmer, Maine Energy Marketing Assn  9 min
* Carol Lee ex head of Bangor Hydro 7min
* Caroll Lee, Q&A 6 min
* John Pierce of Harspwell 4 min
* Chris O'Neill, Saco 10 min 

It's your state waters. Deal with it.

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