Well, the wind’s hit the fan. As a longtime proponent of wind power, tidal power, wood power, any power that comes from our natural resources, I’m also well aware of the nasty bullish response from anti-wind people. They seem to specialize in attacking my motives, rather than my facts. Perhaps that’s because the facts are on my side – at least, that’s the way I see this.
I made a mistake on February 28 when I posted a brief column here, in George’s Outdoor News, on the website of the Bangor Daily News. The column was about the Stetson Mountain Snowmobile Ride-in.
More than 200 snowmobilers participated in this year’s Ride-In on February 16, including Carolann Ouellette, Director of the Maine Office of Tourism. I’m not sure the anti-wind people are going after Carolann because of her participation, but they sure enough are going after me.
I will say her participation in the Ride-in was a whole lot more favorable to First Wind than the seven paragraphs I wrote in the blog post. It got statewide news coverage.
So let’s head this off by letting you know that I agree with the anti-wind folks and my editors at the BDN, that I should have disclosed that First Wind is a sponsor of my website, georgesmithmaine.com. I do not hide that fact. Their sponsorship is highlighted right on the home page of the website and repeated in my Outdoor News Blog there.
While I haven’t seen a lot of other bloggers disclosing their personal interests anywhere on the internet, and certainly blogs are not fact checked by anyone – they are, after all, just one man’s or one woman’s opinions – I do want to honor the BDN’s policies.
This was actually an unintended mistake. I wrote the column for posting on my website and then took a look at all the legislative news I had queued up for that blog, and decided to post the Ride-in column in my BDN blog. I report most of my legislative news in my website’s blog and that’s the top priority there.
I do have a long record of supporting wind power, as does the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine for which I worked 18 years until the end of 2010 when I retired to write full time. And I’ve written quite often about wind power over the years. I am particularly proud of the Stetson Stories that I wrote after visiting the small towns up there and learning how townspeople were benefiting from the Stetson Mountain Project. You won’t find a lot of opposition to that project in those local communities.
And while I am disclosing my personal and professional ties and interests in that Snowmobile Ride-in column, let me report that I have worked for many years with my friend, Bob Myers, who helped organize the Ride-in and was quoted in the column.
Bob is the Executive Director of the Maine Snowmobile Association. He participated in the ride-in and expressed his enthusiasm by saying, “The ride into a wind project like this is fun for everyone, and we appreciate businesses in Maine like First Wind that open their projects up to snowmobilers.” Meyers said he’s working on a statewide wind farm trail system.
This whole sorry mess has gotten me thinking about my relationships, sponsors, and interests. Perhaps I should disclose that Maine Audubon has taken over the TV talk show Wildfire that I cohost with Harry Vanderweide, and Maine Audubon also supports wind power. I recently posted a column on Wildfire in this blog.
I don’t want to abuse the privilege of posting this blog on the BDN’s website, so I will be giving the issue of conflicts a lot of thought. Perhaps I will write more about this later. With full disclosures, of course.