Colin Durrant, CLF Director of Communications
Wiscasset, ME (November 6, 2007) – The defeat of a height ordinance change in Wiscasset will prevent plans to build a coal gasification plant and diesel fuel refinery in Wiscasset. Environmental organizations and a local grassroots group applauded the decision by Wiscasset voters and called for a state wide ban on similar proposals.
State Rep Bruce MacDonald (D-Boothbay) has sponsored a bill (LR3033) that would prohibit construction of any new coal power plant in Maine that does not capture and store 90% of the greenhouse gases it produces. The proposed coal plant in Wiscasset would not meet that standard and could not operate if MacDonald’s legislation becomes law.
“We need good jobs and industry in the State, but we can’t keep polluting the atmosphere in order to get them,” MacDonald said. “We need to work together at the local, state and national level to develop cleaner energy sources that do not make global warming worse which is why I have submitted a bill that would require all new coal fired plants to capture and sequester climate changing carbon pollution.”
The Back River Alliance, a grassroots group of Midcoast residents, has been working to raise awareness about the coal plant proposal. “This proposal is wrong for Wiscasset, it’s wrong for the Midcoast and it’s wrong for Maine,” said Alliance President Willy Ritch. “It has become clear over the last few months that there is a tremendous amount of opposition to this proposal-not just in this area, but all over the state.
“Global warming is the greatest threat facing our generation, yet unbelievably the pollution that causes global warming is still unregulated by the federal and state governments,” said Steve Hinchman, staff attorney for the Conservation Law Foundation in Brunswick, Maine. “Until we require developers to control their CO2 emissions, we will continue to see ill-conceived projects like Twin River. Our future is with energy efficiency and renewable energy sources like wind – not coal.”
“This coal plant was proposed based on the promise of gasification technology, but over the last few months, we were able to determine that it was a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” said Dylan Voorhees, Clean Energy Director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine in a statement. “Wiscasset’s vote is a testament to the hard work of local citizens to bring out the truth about this proposal. However Maine can’t rely on this kind of local grassroots efforts to guide our energy future-we need clear state policy on coal, which is what Representative Bruce MacDonald is proposing this session.”
“The Back River Alliance, along with all the groups that have fought long and hard to stop the proposal, deserves our thanks. Over the past several months, they went door to door, made phone calls, and garnered great media, all to educate the public about this terrible proposal,” stated Harris Parnell, State Director of Toxics Action Center Campaigns. “Toxics Action Center Campaigns congratulates the Back River Alliance for stopping yet another coal plant from coming to Maine.”