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Governor LePage Issues Executive Order Establishing the Maine Wind Energy Advisory Commission
January 24, 2018
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531
AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage has issued Executive Order 2018-002, “An Order Establishing the Maine Wind Energy Advisory Commission.”
“I am placing a moratorium on issuing any new permits related to wind turbines until this Commission studies the economic impact that such development would have on tourism in Maine,” said Governor LePage. “Tourism, especially returning visitors, is a major driver for the Maine economy. We cannot afford to damage our natural assets in ways that would deter visitors from returning to Maine.”
In 2016, Maine attracted more than 35 million visitors who spent nearly $6 billion, numbers that were surpassed in 2017.
The Governor stated, “While out-of-state interests are eager to exploit our western mountains in order to serve their political agendas, we must act judiciously to protect our natural beauty. I urge the commission to take the time they need to develop the right policies that balance tourism, the needs of the communities, the environment and development.”
Membership of the commission will include representatives from state agencies and other entities that have substantial responsibilities and/or interests in the siting of wind turbines in Western Maine, including members of the Legislature, municipal officers, advocacy organizations and businesses.
As part of its charge, the commission will monitor compliance with federal and state environmental law, consider the economic impact of previously sited wind turbines in Maine, and develop and propose policies regulating the future deployment and operation of wind turbines in Western Maine.
In addition to today’s executive order, Governor LePage announced his intention to introduce legislation to amend the laws governing expedited permitting for wind energy development.
“Current law is too ambitious and overly permissive in areas of the state where we must protect our scenic vistas. While I believe that some expedited permitting for wind is appropriate, my bill will implement constraints on where expedited development can occur to protect our tourism-based economy,” he said.
A copy of the Executive Order may be viewed at the link below with a text version available at http://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/index.php?topic=GovExecutiveOrders&id=776746&v=article2011 .