A regional environmental group is suing Gov. Paul LePage over a moratorium on wind power development he imposed last week.
The Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) is asking a Cumberland County superior court to strike down the moratorium on Constitutional grounds.
"He's totally usurped the legislative process here," says Sean Mahoney, CLF's director for the state. Mahoney says that by suspending the state's existing framework for wind development, LePage is violating the principle of separation of powers.
"He's imposing his own anti-renewables philosophy on the rest of the state in total contravention to what the state Legislature has done over the last three administrations," says Mahoney.
Administration officials declined comment, citing the pending litigation. But Tuesday on Maine Public's Maine Calling program, LePage asserted that Democratic lawmakers are in the pocket of wind developers eager to sell electricity to Massachusetts and Connecticut.
“So they are willing to deface the state of Maine at an enormous cost to the Maine people, at an enormous cost to the economy of Maine," says LePage.
LePage says wind development is already hurting tourism in the state – although he has not produced data to support the claim. On Maine Calling he also tried to dismiss complaints that he is trying to exempt from the state's open meetings law a new wind task force he is creating alongside the wind moratorium.
"That's not true. Hey, fake news, what can I tell you," Le Page says.
The executive order LePage signed last week says the panel's meetings are quote "not 'public proceedings' subject to Maine's Freedom of Access Act."
In a related bill LePage filed on Monday, meanwhile, more than a dozen towns in Aroostook County would be exempt from the moratorium.