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County panel endorses Black Nubble wind project  

FARMINGTON – Commissioners unanimously voted Tuesday to support Maine Mountain Power’s Black Nubble Mountain Wind Farm proposed for northern Franklin County between Saddleback and Sugarloaf ski mountains.

County commissioners took no action to support Maine Mountain Power’s plan to install 30 turbines on Redington Pond Range and Black Nubble Mountain in Redington and Wyman townships last year.

When the proposal went before the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission in January, commissioners directed its staff to draft a denial for the project.

Maine Mountain Power requested the state to reopen the hearing this spring and resubmitted a scaled-back version of its plan to build the wind farm on only one mountain and restrict development on Redington Pond Range to ease environmental and aesthetic concerns. People testifying at the public hearing on the initial project voiced concerns over endangered and rare animal, bird and plant species as well as being able to see the wind turbines from the Appalachian Trail.

Harley Lee, president of Endless Energy Corp. in Yarmouth, which partnered with Edison Mission Group of California, on the northern Franklin County project, gave county commissioners an update on the revised project Tuesday.

Public hearings on the new proposal are set for Wednesday, Sept. 19, Thursday, Sept. 20, and Friday, Sept. 21, if necessary, at Sugarloaf Grand Summit Conference in Carrabassett Valley.

The public testimony will be taken at 6 p.m. on both Sept. 19 at Sept. 20.

The footprint for the revised project is about 233 acres and it’s about a $110 million project, Lee said, and includes upgrading the existing power system.

There is mixed reaction from environmental groups on the project, Lee said, with some groups against, including Maine Audubon Society, and some for, including Natural Resources Council of Maine

After giving a brief overview of the project and highlighting the need for more sustainable energy that does not pollute the environment, Lee asked commissioners for their support on the project.

“I don’t have any problem supporting” this, Commissioner Fred Hardy of New Sharon said.

The problem before was concern for the environmental impacts, Chairman Gary McGrane said, but since then the board has passed an environmental resolution outlining its environmental concerns.

In July, the board endorsed the Kibby Wind Energy Project that proposes to install 44 wind turbines on Kibby Mountain and Kibby Ridge in Kibby and Skinner townships. The project goes to LURC public hearing in early October.

By Donna M. Perry
Staff Writer

Sun Journal

5 September 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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