Gov. Baldacci and an ex-PUC chief,
now a wind developer, are among
those who let industry sway policy, critics say
As Maine rushes to embrace wind power, unnamed critics posting on Internet sites and reader comment pages contend that money and political connections – reaching all the way to the governor’s office – are greasing the skids.
A repeated theme, for instance, focuses on Gov. John Baldacci and Kurt Adams, former chairman of the Maine Public Utilities Commission.
Adams served as Baldacci’s chief counsel. The governor appointed him chairman of the PUC in 2005. Adams left in 2008 to be a top executive at First Wind, the state’s most active wind-power developer. Posters allege that Adams has since benefited from his connections with Baldacci to gain permits and generous taxpayer subsidies for big wind projects.
The charge has become more persistent over the past year, as the pace of energy development has picked up in Maine, fueled by federal stimulus money, efforts to cut reliance on oil and strong support for renewable energy by both Baldacci and President Obama.
But in interviews with the Maine Sunday Telegram, Adams and a spokesman for Baldacci say their conduct has been legal and appropriate, and that organized opponents of wind development are using innuendo to influence public opinion.
The connections aren’t secret, they say, and the charges lack specific – or accurate – accounts of any wrongdoing.
Click this link for the rest of today’s story by Tux Turkel of the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram. (Note: there seems to be a problem with the website’s pages for this story. You may have to click to the second page of the story for the beginning. — KM)