February 26, 2018 Read More →

A Second Legal Challenge to Maine Governor’s Secretive Ban on Wind Energy

Portland Press Herald:

Maine’s wind energy industry is challenging the constitutionality of a recent LePage administration executive order imposing a moratorium on new wind power permits across much of the state.

In a filing in Kennebec County Superior Court, the Maine Renewable Energy Association accuses Gov. Paul LePage of “unconstitutional executive overreach in creating a moratorium of indefinite duration that is contrary to the will of the Legislature.” The association, a trade group representing wind energy companies and contractors, is asking the court to nullify the Jan. 24 executive order that halted the issuance of new wind power permits and created a secretive advisory commission to explore potential changes to the permitting process.

“While the governor may not support wind power, no executive authority exists for him to arbitrarily decide which industries and their permit applications may be afforded a comprehensive regulatory review,” Jeremy Payne, executive director of the Maine Renewable Energy Association, said in a statement. “Our Constitution clearly lays out the separation of powers between our co-equal branches of government, and this order directly contradicts that separation.”

This is the second lawsuit challenging LePage’s executive order on wind power. The Massachusetts-based Conservation Law Foundation also filed suit in Cumberland County Superior Court, claiming the administration’s actions violate the constitutional separation of powers.

LePage is a vocal critic of the wind energy industry and Maine’s environmental organizations. His order prohibits state agencies from issuing wind turbine permits in western and coastal Maine, on coastal islands and along “significant avian migratory pathways.”

More: Wind industry sues LePage administration over order halting permits

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