Naomi Schalit — Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting — July 2, 2015
AUGUSTA — After several years of trying, a group of citizens from the state’s rural Unorganized Territories (UT) have won their fight to pass legislation that could give them greater say in the siting of large, industrial wind turbines in their communities.
On Monday, Gov. Paul LePage, in the midst of vetoing almost every bill sent to him by the legislature, signed L.D. 828, legislation his administration supported since its introduction earlier this year.
The bill allows citizens in certain UT plantations and townships to petition for removal from the state’s “Expedited Wind Zone,” where permitting for turbines is meant to be quicker and more streamlined than in other parts of the state.
“We just kind of got our voice back,” said Highland Plantation resident Alan Michka, who has been a leader of the effort to pass legislation for the last several years.
While there were many opponents of wind development among the group advocating the legislative change, Michka and other leaders said they weren’t opposed to wind power. Rather, they just wanted restoration of their right to weigh in on development in their communities.
“Maine citizens deserve to have the ability to have a say in designing the future of the communities in which they live,” Lexington Township’s Karen Bessey Pease testified at the bill’s public hearing. Continue reading here…..