LURC Vote a “Lost Opportunity” for Maine’s Fight Against Global Warming

Brian Barth Brian Barth

Steve Hinchman, CLF Staff Attorney
(207) 729-7733

Brunswick, ME (January 24, 2007) The Conservation Law Foundation today called the Land Use Regulation Commission’s preliminary decision to reject the Redington Wind project “unfortunate and a lost opportunity for Maine’s fight to curb global warming.” The proposed 30-turbine project was to be located in one of the relatively few suitable sites for commercial-scale wind power in the state.

“Redington was not the solution to our global warming problems but it was an important first step in reducing our dependence on fossil fuels,” said CLF attorney Steve Hinchman, who intervened in the LURC process on behalf of CLF. “In the future we hope LURC will encourage renewable energy projects like wind and carefully consider the impact their decision will have on efforts to reverse the impacts of climate change.”

In comments before LURC in August 2006 CLF testified that natural levels of CO2 have increased by a third in the last 150 years, and are expected to double or triple again in the next century. Wind power is one of the few viable options currently available to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; however it will require construction of as much as 8,000 megawatts of new wind power in the ISO New England region by 2024. CLF argued that construction of the 90-MW Redington project would be an important first step in reaching that target.

“It will take bold solutions and difficult decisions to curb global warming pollution,” said Hinchman. “CLF will continue to advocate for investing in renewable energy and wind projects before LURC and throughout New England .”

CLF also said it recognized the impact Redington would have on the local environment and said that the opponents’ concerns should be “avoided where possible, and minimized where unavoidable.” CLF also noted that experts from all sides at LURC’s Redington hearings agreed that with predicted global warming, the unique sub-alpine habitat and rare northern bog lemming at the top of the Redington Pond Range will disappear completely.

The Conservation Law Foundation works to solve the environmental problems that threaten the people, natural resources and communities of New England. CLF’s advocates use law, economics and science to design and implement strategies that conserve natural resources, protect public health, and promote vital communities in our region. Founded in 1966, CLF is a nonprofit, member-supported organization. It has offices in Boston, Massachusetts; Concord, New Hampshire; Providence, Rhode Island; Montpelier, Vermont; and Brunswick, Maine.