The American Lung Association in Maine is concerned about the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s denial of a permit for a 14-turbine wind project on Passadumkeag Mountain.

For decades, we have been a strong supporter of clean and renewable sources of energy that can reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, lower toxic emissions and improve public health.

We are deeply concerned about the justification used by the DEP to deny the permit for Passadumkeag WindPower LLC. The denial was based upon a visual impact standard that does not exist in state law, and a standard that runs counter to the intention of the Maine Wind Energy Act.

This arbitrary standard has the potential to set a new precedent and affect the future development of other renewable energy projects.

Maine’s Wind Energy Act, which was unanimously approved by the Legislature, sets the standards for the consideration of projects such as Passadumkeag. The Legislature’s goal was to develop predictable rules for prospective developers. This DEP staff decision has the dangerous potential to undo that work and take the state back to the days before the act was passed, days when predictability was a serious problem.

The American Lung Association encourages the Board of Environmental Protection to fully consider the evidence in the record on this project and determine if it meets the standards set in Maine law.

We believe that to do otherwise would be unfair to the applicant and to future applicants who could face unknown standards during the project review process. These projects require a considerable investment of time and financial resources. Maine, as the leader in the northeast for wind development, does not want to send the wrong message about our desire for new clean energy projects.

Matthew Sturgis, board chairman

American Lung Association in Maine

Gray