The policy that eventually became the Maine Wind Energy Act of 2008 was the product of several public groups and included crucial input from public agencies. There were a number of cases where people from those groups and agencies were either connected to the wind industry or soon would be connected to the wind industry:

Governor’s Wind Power Task Force

Dave Wilby: At the time he was on the task force, Wilby worked for the Independent Energy Producers of Maine. He subsequently went to work for wind power developer First Wind.

Juliet Browne: Browne, an attorney at Verrill Dana who heads the Portland law firm’s environmental practice, has guided wind power developer First Wind and TransCanada, an energy infrastructure company that focuses on pipelines and power generation opportunities, through the state’s regulatory system. She is married to Rep. Jon Hinck, D-Portland, who at the time was co-chairman of the Legislature’s Utilities and Energy Committee, which unanimously approved the wind power legislation based on the task force’s report.

Milton McBreairty: McBreairty was business manager for the electrical workers’ union while on the task force. He subsequently went to work as director of renewable energies for electrical contractor Larkin Enterprises, which had the contract for electrical power and grounding installations at TransCanada’s Kibby wind farm.

Patrick McGowan: The Department of Conservation commissioner, who left that position to run for governor, had been at the center of a significant controversy over his advocacy for a wind power project while he was commissioner.

That’s when he contacted Land Use Regulation Commission member Ed Laverty, in the middle of the commission’s deliberations over the controversial Redington-Black Nubble wind power project, to ask, as Laverty reported, “if I would poll the other commissioners to determine if there was a way to get the majority to vote for the proposed project. I told him as this was an ongoing regulatory process, I felt for me to do so might be improper.”

While an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office determined McGowan’s intervention had not risen to the level of illegal “ex parte” communication, he was required to undergo training on proper procedure by staff in the Attorney General’s Office.

The Legislature’s Utilities and Energy Committee

Jon Hinck: co-chairman of the committee, the Portland Democrat is married to Juliet Browne, who was on the governor’s wind power task force and is the leading attorney for wind power interests in the state.

Anti-wind-power activists charged that Hinck had a conflict of interest in considering legislation from which his wife’s clients would benefit. That criticism eventually led him to request a ruling by the state Commission on Governmental Ethics as to whether he was prohibited by Maine law from participating in deliberations and votes on wind power legislation. The commission ruled that he was not.

Public Utilities Commission

Kurt Adams: When the governor’s task force was doing its work, Adams was head of the state’s Public Utilities Commission, although he had already had communication with wind developer First Wind about possibly going to work for them.

In their report, task force members wrote, “PUC Chairman Kurt Adams and agency counsel Mitch Tannenbaum, and DEP Commissioner and Task Force member David Littell were particularly helpful to the Task Force in developing and presenting information regarding the regional energy system, electric transmission, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and other renewable energy policy issues as they relate to wind power.”

Adams left the PUC to take a high-level position with First Wind in May 2008; in April, he had received 1.2 million units of equity in First Wind — akin to stock options — while he was still at the PUC. An investigation by Attorney General Janet Mills determined Adams had done nothing wrong.