Police arrested five people this morning near the site of a controversial wind energy development north of Bangor. The protesters were blocking a construction road in a last-ditch attempt to delay a $130-million wind farm above Lincoln Lakes.
Route 2, the road leading into downtown Lincoln, comes to a “T” at a gazebo at the edge of Mattanawcook Pond. Across the water, the ridgeline crests and falls and crests again.
Brad Blake, with the group Friends of Lincoln Lakes, says this delicate land on Rollins Mountain simply can’t handle 40, 389-foot-tall wind turbines.
“This mountain is all shale and shist and clay,” Blake says. “And they have to do the deepest excavation possible because there’s no bedrock to drill into to secure them.”
Blake is standing a few feet from the spot where five protesters were arrested and charged with blocking the entrance to the wind farm construction site. “They have clear-cut more land up than if they were putting in four lanes of an interstate highway,” he says.
But Massachusetts-based First Wind, the company developing the Rollins farm, disputes charges the project is environmentally reckless. It points to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s blessing, granted in April of 2009, as proof that the project meets or exceeds state regulations.
John LaMontagne, First Wind’s top communications official, didn’t respond to MPBN’s request for an on-tape interview. But in a written statement, LaMontagne said the project would benefit the state.
“It’s unfortunate a small group of renewable energy opponents have chosen to protest that, but we respect their rights to do so,” he says in the statement. “This project will put more than 200 people to work during construction, and generate enough clean, renewable power for more than 24,000 homes in Maine.”
The project will have the capacity to produce up to 60 megawatts, with power set to be sold to Central Maine Power and Bangor Hydro-Electric. Activists have tried repeatedly to halt the development, but ultimately lost a decisive case before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. Work on erecting the turbines began in late September. The farm is scheduled to be up and running by spring.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding