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Industrial Wind Power in Maine’s Mountains Is Bad Policy (Testimony of Citizens Task Force on Wind Power)

The historic Hall of Flags in the rotunda of the state capitol in Augusta, Maine, was the setting for a November 6th press conference announcing the formation of the Citizens Task Force on Wind Power. The group is a coalition of citizens from around the state drawn together in the common purpose of advocating for responsible, science based, economically and environmentally sound approaches to Maine’s energy policy, according to co-chair Steve Thurston. Thurston highlighted the key concerns of the group in the release that is posted here. Co-chair Monique Aniel, M.D., set the tone for the press conference by recounting how the arrogance of the developer of Record Hill Wind in Roxbury, Maine, ignited her concern over the siting of utility scale wind projects in Maine

Other speakers included economist J. Dwight who addressed economic problems of wind energy; Gary Steinberg of Friends of Lincoln Lakes who spoke of denial of citizens rights relating to permitting processes; Carolyn Dodge who spoke of wind developers’ violation of Native Americans’ respect for natural resources; Jon Carter of Forest Ecology Network who spoke of the devastating impact of wind development on the vast forests of the northern two-thirds of Maine. Bringing the Press Conference to a close, Brad Blake of Friends of Lincoln Lakes used the scale of the Rollins Project proposed by First Wind to demonstrate the huge impact of the state’s goals for utility scale wind power for 2020.

Citizens Task Force on Wind Power is concerned that the state government under the leadership of Governor John Baldacci has committed the state to public policy that aggressively promotes development of utility scale wind projects without adequate citizen input to public policy and denial of citizen involvement in permitting processes. In 2008, the Maine Legislature passed the “Expedited Wind Permitting” law that negates citizens’ rights and opens the floodgates for a proliferation of wind projects that will destroy more than 300 miles of ridgelines and permanently clear cut more than 50,000 acres of forest in rural Maine. The group also notes that development of wind projects in rural Maine is the major reason for a proposed $1.4 billion expansion of transmission lines by Central Maine Power Company, which is owned by Iberdrola. Maine has operating wind power sites in Freedom, Mars Hill, Stetson Mt., and Kibby Mt. Another project in Roxbury is under construction for site access even though the permitting for the project is under appeal and the transmission line capacity is inadequate to bring the electricity to the grid.

Our testimony follows.

INDUSTRIAL WINDPOWER IN MAINE’S MOUNTAINS IS BAD POLICY

Following are the key points about industrial industrial wind power that the government and the wind industry are not talking about.

Political

Environmental

Maine’s Economy

Maine’s “Quality of Place Investment Strategy”, adopted by executive order in July 2008 contains the following goals:

  1. Protect, strengthen, and develop Maine’s Quality of Place assets, both natural and built;
  2. Make the State’s several regions more economically competitive and prosperous through increased investment, job opportunities, regional incomes, and public revenues; and
  3. Create new jobs and valued products and services in Maine that will succeed in national and global markets for local, regional, and state benefit.

These goals are in direct opposition to the development of 2700 MW of industrial industrial wind power in Maine’s mountains and are absolutely irreconcilable.

Human Health Concerns

Electricity Produced by 2,700 MW of Wind Turbines in Maine’s Mountains

A Much More Cost Effective Use of Our Tax Dollars

Summary

Towns considering wind projects need to understand industrial wind power’s reliance on massive government subsidies (our tax dollars) for its existence. When political support for industrial wind power dries up and the subsidies are removed all of the “tangible benefits” towns believed they would get indefinitely will disappear. The limited liability shell corporations that own the wind turbines will abandon these projects, having received handsome returns on their
investments. Lack of funds to remove the turbines and restore the sites, due to the DEP’s failure to require up front set aside of these funds will leave towns with no ability to remove the turbines, or deal with the long term environmental consequences of high mountain clearing and road building.

Citizens Task Force on Wind Power is a newly formed coalition of citizens from around the state drawn together in the common purpose of advocating for responsible, science based, economically and environmentally sound approaches to Maine’s energy policy.

Dr. Monique Aneil co-chair 207 364 8422
Steve Thurston co-chair 207 545 2151 or 802 384 5267
Brad Blake – Public Relations 207 773 4252

November 14, 2009, via masterresource.org