Gov. Janet Mills, D-Maine, has signed an executive order to end the state’s moratorium on wind turbine permits.
In January 2018, then-Gov. Paul LePage, citing negative effects on tourism in the state, announced a moratorium on the issuance of new wind project permits. “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,” said LePage.
Now, according to Mills, who came into power in January, the new order clarifies that state agencies with the legal authority to issue permits can, once again, do their work with Maine’s local communities and stakeholders to determine which projects should go forward.
“It is time for Maine to send a positive signal to renewable energy investors and innovators: We welcome you,” says the new governor. “This executive order will allow our state to conduct a transparent vetting of all wind projects, onshore and offshore, to ensure they respect Maine communities and our environment while helping to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. Today, we another take a step towards embracing a clean energy future for Maine.”
On the eve of Mills’ inauguration as Maine’s 75th governor last month, the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM) said it was hopeful for the state’s renewable energy future following the LePage administration.
Dylan Voorhees, NRCM’s climate and clean energy director, has released the following statement in response to the new executive order:
“A first step in embracing a clean energy future that works for all Mainers is to reverse the barriers set up by the previous governor that were meant to stifle innovation and economic development in the renewable energy sector. We applaud Governor Mills for taking this important step to ensure wind energy is one tool in the toolbox the state can use to reduce carbon pollution, create new jobs and protect our environment. Passage of the bill to repeal the anti-solar gross metering tax, which was just voted out of legislative committee this week, would be another positive step forward in regaining our energy independence by moving forward with homegrown clean energy projects.”