Mar 15, 2010

Mega-windfarm plan off Maine proposed by New Jersey power group


A group of New Jersey power companies proposes installing thousands of windmills in state and federal waters in a mega windfarm stretching from Maine to South Carolina.  

Critics say that by the so-called "Fishermen's Energy"  consortium is run by giant power companies  and would place choice areas of the Gulf of Maine "commons" under absentee corporate control, resembling the corporate ownership of the Maine Woods. The plan awaits legislative action on LD 1810, which would open Maine state waters to the New Jersey utilities  

A figurehead  spokesman for Fishermen's Energy said that a group of New Jersey corporate fishing fleet owners decided to give up their fishing grounds in exchange for jobs servicing the steel behemoths the big energy companies want to install off the Atlantic coast. 

In return, the giant energy corporations get to market themselves as a "community-based offshore wind development". This branding is important. Under that designation, energy companies are immune from important environmental laws and regulations.

Are Mainers ready to have the waters off their shores placed under absentee corporate control? (NJ-based, no less?) 
If not - a reasonable guess, then you better make your point of view known to the Maine legislature before Thursday afternoon, when the Utility and Energy Committee decides what to do with the bill  LD 1810.  HERE'S HOW:

Email and phone these 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 Maine's fishing families, sailing fleets and water-access dependent resorts. It 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 MacMaster 
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 anything about fisheries, and shouldn't be forced to decide the future of Maine fishermen.
Send an email to Maine's Speaker of the House Hannah Pingree at  Representative Pingree represents the fishing towns of Brooklin, Deer Isle, Stonington, Swans Island, Frenchboro, Tremont, Isle au Haut, North Haven and part of Mount Desert Island.
Let Hannah know that those communities and all Maine coastal communities stand to lose everything if LD 1810 is rushed through, and windmills start sprouting in Maine fishing grounds.

Call and email your personal  state legislators Leaving a call message for your legislator at any of these numbers makes a huge difference.  They will talk to members of the Utility and Marine Resources Committees andlet them know their constituents are not happy with LD 1810.   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 vote it Ought Not to Pass, Amputate it of all state waters sections,  or turn it into a Resolve for further study. Nothing else is acceptable!

It's your Gulf of Maine. Deal with it!

1 comment:

Andy said...

I'm one of the founders of Fishermen's Energy (FE), and this posting is quite inaccurate. First, FE has not proposed to build a project in Maine or anywhere near Maine. Second, the owners of FE are all mobile-gear fishermen and vessel owners based mostly in NJ, but some with operations in MA and other states. The only exception is myself -- I'm a service-provider to the mobile-gear commercial fishing industry, not a fisherman myself. There are no power companies or utilities who directly or indirectly are owners of FE -- none. Zero.