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Offshore wind ports are really tall. Maine laws would have to change to allow them

This Friday, Sept. 20, 2013 file photo shows the country's first floating wind turbine works off the coast of Castine, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty
/
AP
This Friday, Sept. 20, 2013 file photo shows the country's first floating wind turbine works off the coast of Castine, Maine.

A legislative committee heard testimony on a bill Wednesday that would ease visual impact requirements for offshore wind ports.

A port to support Maine's offshore wind industry could require cranes that are taller than those at Bath Iron Works, or the towers of the Penobscot Narrows Bridge. And State Sen. Chip Curry says they couldn't be permitted under current visual impact standards.

The Democrat from Belfast has proposed legislation to create a new visual standard specific to offshore wind ports. Curry said if the port is built in Searsport, he'll be able to see it from his hometown, and he's not minimizing the significant visual impacts.

"But there's also a tremendous concern around climate change, and tremendous concern around our dependence on fossil fuels," Curry said. "And there's a high level of 'Put me in coach, we want to work on this.'"

Maine Conservation Voters and the Maine State Chamber of Commerce testified in support of the bill, and no one spoke in opposition.

Murray Carpenter is Maine Public’s climate reporter, covering climate change and other environmental news.