More than 150 environmental activists demonstrated Saturday in Searsport against the possibility of an offshore wind project on Sears Island.
Participants in the rally, organized by groups including the Friends of Sears Island, the Sierra Club and the Isleboro Islands Trust, say they support renewable energy projects, even in the Searsport area — just not on Sears Island.
In 2020, Gov. Janet Mills’ Office of Energy identified Searsport as a site for clean energy development. The original vision began at the Mack Point Terminal in Searsport, which is already a developed cargo facility. But in November 2021, that focus shifted to Sears Island, a third of which is state-owned because it was more cost-effective.
The rally at Mermaid Plaza drew children who swam the beaches of Sears Island this summer and older generations who did the same when they were younger, said Susan White, president of Friends of Sears Island.
“It’s been so much a part of a lot of people’s lives, being the island the way it is,” White said.
More than 1,000 people have signed a petition urging the state to hold on to Mack Point, where industrial facilities are already located, White said.
The petition states: “We, the signatories, support the development of an offshore wind facility at Mack Point and oppose the development of that facility at Sears Island if such a facility is to be built at Penobscot Bay.”
“There is an urgency to make renewable energy work for Maine and the world,” said Rolf Olsen, vice president of Friends of Sears Island.
But building such a project off Sears Island would be “too detrimental” to natural habitats, he said.