I have worked in economic development for the last eight years, and I owned a small business in Maine during the previous decade. I am keenly aware of how companies assess business climates and whether their investment capital will be welcomed in the short and long term.

Industries demand and deserve a fair and reasonable regulatory process, and this is true whether we are talking about blueberry cultivation, papermaking, clean-energy generation or shipbuilding.

Recently, the Legislature enacted L.D. 1750, a bill sponsored by Senate President Justin Alfond to help clarify legislative intent as it relates to agency rulemaking for wind farm development.

In essence, the bill rightly makes clear that state agencies must follow the rulemaking procedures put in place long ago by the Legislature. Agency staff cannot independently decide to make substantive policy changes without legislative approval or having gone through the appropriate rulemaking process.

Bills like L.D. 1750 are critically important to companies looking to invest capital in Maine to create new jobs and new industries.

The legislation ensures all businesses are treated fairly per the rules – regardless of whether the Legislature or the governor happens to support them. This stable business environment invites global investment from all industries.

With the baseball season upon us, imagine if the rules for only the next game at Fenway Park were changed to allow four strikes and five outs – the integrity of baseball at Fenway would be called into question. That is what it is like when we allow state agencies to change the rules in the middle of the game.

Let’s be sure we don’t strike the Maine business climate out, leaving us wondering how we might be a better team to attract investment “next season.” Let’s truly remain open business.

Paul Williamson

executive director, Maine Ocean and Wind Energy Initiative