On Thursday morning I will leave my home in Portland, Maine, and ride my Pedego electric bike 60 miles north to the state capitol in Augusta so that I can hand-deliver a petition I started a few weeks back asking Gov. Paul LePage to lead, follow, or get out of the way of clean energy development in our state. More than 1,300 of my fellow Mainers have added their voices to the chorus of citizens asking our governor to do the right thing in regards to developing clean energy, and I want to honor their contributions by making the journey to and from Augusta on my electric bike.
This all came about because LePage (who once said that wind turbines don’t actually generate power but instead are spun by little electric motors) pressured the state legislature to renege on a deal with energy giant Statoil to develop a $120 million offshore wind farm. LePage’s actions not only killed a substantial boost to Maine’s economy but also cast a shadow of uncertainty on any renewable energy project in our state. Why would any sane company chose to do business with a state that could pull the contract whenever the political winds blew the wrong way?
I am making my way to Augusta on my Pedego electric bike to further highlight the benefits that clean energy could bring to Maine. If Maine got all of its electricity from clean, renewable sources, my 120-mile ride would be more or less CO2 free.
Why am I doing this? Bill McKibben. I have been reading his new book, "Oil and Honey," in which he, in part, describes how he came to be a climate change activist. One of his early acts of activism was walking for three weeks across Vermont and into New York’s Adirondack mountains. While I don’t have three weeks to give to this project, I do have a couple of days and a strong desire to change the world for the better. I was a bit of a rowdy activist in my younger days (I was a founder of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, now one of the leading organizations fighting to end the war on drugs), and am really excited about dipping my toes back into a little bit of direct action.
While I don’t have high hopes of actually changing the governor’s mind (it’s pretty clear to anyone paying attention that the guy is not a fan of anything with even a hint of progressivism), I do hope that my ride will remind other Maine politicians that there are a lot of Mainers who think it’s a good idea to generate our electricity in a way that doesn’t pollute our environment. Wind power is good for Maine. It’s good for our economy, and it’s good for the future of our children.
So if you find yourself between Portland and Augusta tomorrow and see this guy riding a big ol' cruiser of an electric bike, give a wave.
In the meantime, if you're a Mainer and agree with me, swing over to my petition and add your voice.
Full disclosure: I am a big fan of wind power and was a founder of Renewable Choice Energy, one of the leading providers of wind credits. While I have not been professionally involved in the wind power industry for years, I do write about it a lot here on MNN.
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