In Maine this season, we’ve got a number of public proceedings underway. Some of them are regulatory in nature, such as the Department of Marine Resources’ licensing process for the would-be developer of an oyster farm in Vinalhaven’s Basin. Others involve contracts, such as Portland’s effort to come to terms with a developer for Maine State Pier. Still others amount to a single community’s consideration of a particular project, such as the Wiscasset selectmen’s recent decision to put the coal fired power plant proposed for their town out to a town vote.

Each of these processes has its flaws, many of which have become glaringly evident as the various projects have worked their way through them. On Vinalhaven, the DMR failed to notify abutters and the public of a hearing in a timely fashion; townspeople and the community’s well-regarded land trust were understandably upset at a process that looked skewed in favor of the developer. In Portland, the city council has changed the rules more than once as two firms have competed for the right to develop a large piece of city-owned waterfront property. Wiscasset, where town officials seem nostalgic about the now-departed Maine Yankee nuclear power plant and the taxes it generated, is now in the throes of a debate over a new use for the Maine Yankee site; the fact that it would involve barging coal through lobster gear along an undeveloped stretch of the Sheepscot River hasn’t dampened their enthusiasm. Meanwhile, all the tax benefits of the coal project would go to Wiscasset, even though other towns in the area can be expected to argue — as they used to when Maine Yankee was up and running — that they will share the risks and costs.

Downeast, three developers are proposing big facilities for liquefied natural gas (LNG). While economics, the availability of gas on the global market, and Canadian opposition could derail all three, it’s still possible a port could get approved — or denied — without taking its long-term effects on the region into account. Maine’s regulatory process isn’t well equipped to consider the big picture — or, for that matter, the frustrations of the general public.

Another questionable process in the news, of course, is taking place far from the coast at Sugarloaf, where the Land Use Regulation Commission is considering the fate of the Black Nubble wind power project. The developer of that particular alternate-energy project has already scaled back his proposal in response to complaints about its effects on the Appalachian Trail; now we have charges of inappropriate behavior by a LURC member (who has recused himself as a result) and the Commissioner of Conservation and — most recently — vociferous opposition from the National Park Service. The developer of the Black Nubble project and its larger predecessor has been working his way through Maine’s permitting process for more than a decade in the belief that Maine needs to bring alternative energy projects on line, and the project enjoys considerable public support.

The bottom line, whatever you think of each of these projects, is that the state and local hoops through which they must jump are increasingly cumbersome, expensive and time consuming. Members of the public who witness these proceedings firsthand come away shaking their heads. Inevitably, as frustration builds, it becomes more likely that a good project will fail, while a bad one will get the green light.