On April 25 the staff of the Land Use Regulation Commission deemed the application from TransCanada Maine Wind Development Inc. complete. The application includes the rezoning of 2,908 acres in the Kibby and Skinner Townships to become a Planned Development Subdistrict for the purpose of constructing the Kibby Wind Power Project. The proposal includes a 132 megawatt wind farm consisting of 44 turbines, transmission lines, gravel access roads, maintenance and operations building, a substation and related activities.
The 115 KV transmission line would originate at the substation in Kibby Twp., would pass through Jim Pond Twp., the Town of Eustis, Coplin Plt. and Wyman Twp. connecting to the Bigelow Substation in Carrabassett Valley. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection will review the portions of the transmission lines in Eustis and Carrabassett Valley.
The LURC staff is nearly at the end of seeking review comments on Zoning Petition ZP 709 from interested parties. This period ends June 8, 2007.
A date for a public hearing and a date to close the public comment period have yet to be determined by the staff. These dates will be determined by the amount of feedback they receive from their six-week review comment period. LURC set the date of May 21 for the deadline for anyone seeking Intervenor status.
At this time the LURC Staff has received six petitions for Intervenor status in the matter. They also received statements from the National Park Service and the Town of Eustis and First Selectman of Eustis (“Local Interests Supporting Kibby Windpower”) who intend to participate as a government agency. The representatives of this group stated their support for the proposal and ask to participate in a formal capacity to “address the Commission on the importance of this project to our region.”
There was also a request from the American Lung Association of Maine to be an Interested Party. Its stated belief is that “the Commission would benefit from our brief presentation on the role that wind power in general and the Kibby Project in specific will play in improving public health”¦ We have no intention of cross-examining witnesses, or playing any other role to which intervenors have the right. It is for this reason that we are requesting Interested Party (“Interested Person”) status, as outlined in Chapter 5.14 of the Commission’s Rules.”
According to LURC Web site, of all the requests, one stated opposition to the project, four stated support, and the remainder did not declare a position.
The requests for Intervenor status are summarized as follows:
Friends of the Boundary Mountains and Bob Wiengarten, President submitted a petition. The FBM are in opposition to the project. FBM stated it is a 501(3) (c) organization originally formed in 1995 to protect mountaintops in Western Maine threatened by rezoning for wind power development, and has a long history of working to protect these mountains from industrial development.
The Maine Audubon Society and Jennifer Burns filed their request. MAS submitted a Petition to Intervene stating that MAS and “its Western Audubon Chapter have historically had an interest in the Western Mountain area. Maine Audubon has also been extensively involved in the issues surrounding wind siting and evaluating the impacts of wind projects on natural resource values. The potential impact on this area including the P-MA zone substantially and directly affect Maine Audubon and our membership.”
The Appalachian Mountain Club and David Publicover filed to intervene. AMC requested status, stating as its reason as: “AMC has a long-standing involvement with wind power projects and siting issues in (Maine). This project has the potential to directly affect the interests of the organization and our members.” AMC supported this by stating its mission to “promote the protection, enjoyment, and wise use of the mountains, rivers and trails of the Appalachian region.” AMC did not express support or opposition to the project in its Petition to Intervene. The Natural Resources Council of Maine and Dylan Voorhees submitted a request. NRCM requested this status and stated that the organization will be “substantially and directly affected by the proceeding, given NRCM’s and its members’ strong commitment to renewable energy development, state action aimed at curbing the threat of global warming, and the protection and wise use of Maine’s North Woods and remote recreation resources.” NRCM did not express support or opposition to the project in its Petition to Intervene. The Conservation Law Foundation and Sean Mahoney also filed for status. CLF submitted a Petition to Intervene in support to the project. CLF stated “to ensure that the clean energy and climate change aspects of this project are fully detailed to the Commission, to ensure that our twin goals of environmental protection and clean energy development are fairly balanced, and to ensure that, if built, the project developers avoid, minimize and/or mitigate any adverse environmental and scenic impacts.” The Independent Energy Producers of Maine and Dave Wilby also filed. IEPM submitted a Petition to Intervene in support of the project, stating IEPM’s members “have a direct interest in the Commission’s decisions on zoning for wind facilities. IEPM has an interest in both the outcome of this particular application and in the issues raised during this proceeding that will be relevant to future wind and other renewable power projects.”
By David Hart
6 June 2007
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