Last month, my wife and I traveled from Trescott Township to Augusta to testify before the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee in support of L.D. 616, a bill to amend the Maine Wind Energy Act of 2008.

If enacted, L.D. 616 would serve to restore to unorganized territory residents within expedited permitting areas an opportunity to speak out regarding the development of large-scale industrial wind projects in their communities. (Expedited permitting areas are areas where wind energy development is a permitted use with no public rezoning hearing.)

Opponents of this bill spoke at length of the benefits we would realize from wind energy, but only when pressed by Rep. Larry Dunphy, R-Embden, did any comment on the issue of citizen rights. Many persisted in ignoring that point.

Those who did address the question expressed regret for this consequence, but went on to describe the inconvenience of allowing local residents to be heard.

One described local input as an “encumbrance.” Another described open hearings prior to permitting as an added “layer of bureaucracy.”

Well, the voice of the people is not a “layer of bureaucracy,” but the fundamental bedrock upon which our democracy, our “bureaucracy,” is built.

No law can be just that denies a resident the opportunity to be heard on issues regarding the industrial development of their home. Let your local representatives know you support the passage of L.D. 616 to return the right to be heard to residents of the unorganized territories’ expedited permitting areas.

Michael Smith

Trescott Township