Karen Grove, the chair of the Camden Select Board, acknowledged that there has been vocal opposition to wind-power development on Ragged Mountain, but that the Camden Select Board plans to go ahead with the formation of a Ragged Mountain Wind Committee, which will include members from Camden, Rockport and Hope.
The select board voted 5-0 in favor of forming a wind-power committee on August 17.
Grove said the first task of the committee will be to get a broad assessment of whether there is or is not public support for going forward to investigate whether Ragged Mountain would be an appropriate wind-power site.
“If there is interest, then we will go ahead with the initial fund-raising, but not before,” said Grove. The fund-raising would be to pay for professional impact studies.
Since August, a growing number of residents have expressed opposition to wind development on Ragged Mountain.
“To tell the truth, I am glad to see the public reaction early in the process. It’s a good and healthy thing to do,” said Grove. “It’s much better than waiting until a project is well under way.”
Coastal Mountains Land Trust (CMLT), which owns property on Ragged Mountain that is under conservation easement, has taken no position on wind power in general, but Executive Director Scott Dickerson said that there could be no industrial development or access roads, lines or cables on the parcels owned by CMLT.
“We have had hundreds of people and foundations contribute money for us to purchase land for conservation,” said Dickerson. “We have to respect those donors’ gifts and honor the purpose behind it. The land simply can’t be used for industrial projects.”
“The (CMLT) board has no position on wind development on other lands,” said Dickerson.
The Ragged Mountain Wind Power Committee will not be in place before October, said Camden Town Manager Roberta Smith.
“We’re still accepting papers from people from Camden,” said Smith. She said it would be up to Rockport and Hope to appoint members to the committee.
Rockport Select Board Chairman Bill Chapman said the Town of Camden had requested that Rockport appoint three members to the Ragged Mountain Wind Power Committee by October 13, if possible. Chapman said that the town was not sure they were going to participate in the committee, since they were unclear what was required of them.
“We received the Camden request as we were walking into the board meeting Monday night,” said Chapman. “I don’t think we’ll have anyone by October 13.”
“There are concerns about erosion into Mirror Lake, of course, since that is our water supply,” he said.
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