Following on our meeting the other night, Rep. Devin has issued the following statement:
Given the overwhelming evidence that burning fossil fuels impact our environment, I fully support the development of alternative energies. The argument against developing alternatives is they are more expensive and less efficient than fossil fuels. This reminds me of my grandfather telling me about owning the second automobile ever in my hometown in the early 1920s. Cars nearly a century ago regularly broke down and, due to the lack of paved roads, often got stuck. My grandfather told me that horses were more dependable transport when he purchased that car. However, due to research and development investments in the automobile industry and transportation infrastructure, namely roads and the National Highway System, cars became much much more efficient and are now the primary transportation for much of the country. Similar investments in alternative energy will enable America and the rest of the world to cut our carbon emissions significantly over the next few decades.
To create dependable, inexpensive, and safe alternative energies, investments must be made. Experiments need to be conducted. We need our scientists and engineers to build prototypes and test them. The projects, like the one proposed for the offshore wind turbines off Monhegan Island, are good ideas and should be carried out. Maine has a chance to be a leader in this field. We have the engineering capacity and expertise in related industries such as boat building and composites.
However, regarding the wind turbine project off Monhegan, the location is problematic. Monhegan fishermen are limited to the Monhegan Lobster Conservation Zone, so any loss of fishing ground in their zone limits their total access. The cable which will laid and is a vital part of the test, will impact multiple fisheries and fishermen from several towns including Bristol, Bremen, and Friendship. Other potential effects include impacts to coastal tourism. The marine environment is the primary economic driver for Monhegan Island and the towns in the vicinity of Monhegan. The present test site could result in a loss of jobs and revenue for municipalities.
As important as this wind turbine project is to Maine, its impact to all marine stakeholders must be considered. Other, more suitable sites, which will have a smaller impact on fishermen and other coastal business, should be sought.