BANGOR – TransCanada’s plans to expand its already approved 44-wind turbine, 132-megawatt facility was on its way for denial. The Land Use Regulation Commission took a straw vote July 7; this indicated that it will deny a proposal to place 15 turbines on a ridgeline north of Sisk Mountain. The formal written denial was scheduled for discussion at a regularly scheduled commissioners’ meeting Aug. 4 in Bangor.
Instead, commissioners voted to table the denial and reopen the record to allow TransCanada to revise its proposal. The revised proposal may change the commissioners’ consideration. The revised proposal is expected to be submitted Aug. 16.
According to LURC staff director Catherine Carroll, the commissioners while reviewing its criteria had a host of issues and concerns with the 15-turbine proposal. The primary concern had to do with undue adverse impacts on wildlife for a portion of the area. Other concerns had to do with the scenic character and the impacts it would have from the Arnold Trail and the Chain of Ponds. The state has determined that this area has “outstanding” scenic significance.
Most of the concerns came in the southern and lower section of the proposal where seven turbines were proposed. This area is known for its fir/heart-leaved birch subalpine forest. It is in this type of forest that the Bicknell’s thrush, a rare migratory bird, is known to breed.
“The commission also voted to stop consideration of the proposed rule to expand the expedited area (“Kibby 3”), meaning that no rule change would be adopted,” the memo read.
The Kibby 3 proposal was to consider putting Sisk Mountain into the expedited area under a different set of review criteria. If that was considered, a third proposal for additional turbines on Sisk Mountain would likely be proposed by TransCanada.
For the revised Kibby 2 proposal, LURC officials say the staff will prepare a draft for reviewing the new proposal which will be brought before the commission at its regular monthly meeting Sept. 1.
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