Sen. Curry introduces bill to support creation of good-paying wind energy jobs

Wed, 05/10/2023 - 10:15pm

AUGUSTA — Senator Chip Curry, D-Belfast, introduced a bill Tuesday that would help ensure jobs created to support offshore wind energy pay a strong, living wage, according to a news release.

LD 1818, “An Act Regarding Port Facilities Relating to Offshore Wind Power Projects,” was the subject of a public hearing for the Labor and Housing Committee.

“The development of offshore wind power in the Gulf of Maine is a critical component of Maine's plan for ending its dependence on fossil fuels and achieving its aggressive and necessary renewable energy goals. Building an offshore wind industry in Maine will create thousands of good-paying, family-sustaining, jobs that benefit all of Maine. By working closely and in good faith with our fishermen and lobstermen, we can make sure to protect their interests and their livelihoods,” said Sen. Curry.

“LD 1818 sets strong standards for the development and operation of port facilities, and positions Maine to secure permits and federal funding for these facilities. Specifically, this bill addresses job quality, workforce development, coastal conservation, and climate resilience.”

LD 1818 is a multi-part bill that would support good-paying jobs as Maine develops its off-show wind energy industry.

The bill has three main parts:

· It would require any public port facility or highway constructed to serve an offshore wind power project to employ project labor agreements. It also would require any lease of a state-owned facility include the use of project labor agreements for on-site construction and full-time employees, and as much as practical, the use of zero-emission equipment;

· It would direct state departments to coordinate and pursue federal funding to enhance climate resilience and biodiversity of any nearshore, intertidal or upland areas disturbed by activities related to offshore wind power projects;

· It would require developers to invest in local workforce development and prioritize the hiring of Maine workers, especially those from impoverished rural communities.

The bill faces further action in committee.