A secret group of experts selected by a recently resigned government official plans to meet at a undisclosed time and place to study something about tourism and wind power. Sounds promising, but we’ll pass. Any report coming out of a process that hinky is destined for the trash can.

But studying a problem and recommending a solution is not what the governor’s wind power commission is for. It’s really an opportunity for Gov. Paul LePage to take a last swipe at renewable energy as his term in office draws to a close. The governor has already erected impediments to the expansion of solar energy, and he may have put an end to a decade’s worth of Maine’s experiments with ocean wind. So before the clock runs out on his second term, the governor apparently wants a study that will show that wind power is bad for the state’s No. 1 industry, tourism.

The governor is usually pretty anti-research. He has vetoed mountains of bills that call for study commissions or blue-ribbon panels.

The exception is when he can be sure that the research is going to tell him what he wants to hear. LePage gave anti-welfare crusader Gary Alexander a nearly $1 million no-bid state contract to produce an analysis of our Medicaid system.

The report came back with the answers LePage was looking for, but it was riddled with errors and was found to have been largely plagiarized. LePage was able to partially stop payment after the scandal was exposed, but he never used that money for legitimate research into the state’s health care system because he already knew what he thought.

So why waste time with a wind power study that has a preordained conclusion? Can’t the governor make an anti-wind power rant at a Rotary Club meeting? Couldn’t he use his weekly radio address to explain how wind turbines will scare people away from the part of the state he called “the mosquito area,” when he was telling Congress that no tourist would ever want to leave the coast of Maine?

Because absolutely no one will be persuaded by cooked-up research that was conducted in secret. The commission might provide ammunition to people who already believe that wind power is bad for tourism, but no one on the other side of the debate will be convinced, and neither will those who are neutral. Any policy developed as a result of this flawed process will be worthless, because it will be accurately viewed as a partisan bone tossed by the governor to a small number of land-owning supporters.

We already know what the governor thinks. If he doesn’t want to fund a real study, maybe he should find another way to spend the money.

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