Oquossoc, ME – The Citizen’s Task Force on Wind Power (CTFWP), a coalition of citizens advocating for responsible, science-based, economically and environmentally sound approaches to Maine ‘s energy policy, as well as the Friends of the Boundary Mountains and many other groups and individuals from across Maine are staging a protest at the upcoming meeting of the Land Use Regulatory Commission (LURC).
Beginning at 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, January 5th, CTFWP will stage a protest at the Spectacular Events Center in Bangor in advance of the 10:00 a.m. meeting at which LURC commissioners are scheduled to sign the final permit approving the expansion of the controversial Kibby Mountain wind project.
The TransCanada project, originally rejected in a straw poll of LURC commissioners and finally mitigated with the acceptance of the erection of eleven additional industrial wind turbines atop Kibby Mountain, was fought by the Maine Audubon Society, the Appalachian Mountain Club, the Natural Resources Council of Maine, the Friends of the Boundary Mountains, the Citizen’s Task Force on Wind Power and many private citizens.
“Sadly, LURC’s signing of TransCanada’s expansion permit is taking place the day of the new governor’s inauguration,” said Monique Aniel, co-Chair of CTFWP. “We hope that this will not completely divert the media’s attention from this senseless and irresponsible action by LURC. This entire process represents a dereliction of LURC’s duty to protect Maine wilderness from just this sort of destruction. We first opposed the proliferation of industrial wind on the basis of protection for Maine’s environment,” continued Aniel. “In the course of studying industrial wind, we have also come to understand how wind’s gross inefficiency will significantly increase electricity and transmission costs to Maine ratepayers. The negative effects on our economy far outweigh any benefits from a few temporary construction jobs or other so called tangible benefits. We also believe that the presence of thousands of these massive, 400-foot tall turbines atop Maine’s mountains will jeopardize the state’s tourism revenues by spoiling that which makes us special, our Quality of Place.”
Several other groups will join with the Citizen’s Task Force on Wind Power on Wednesday to show their opposition to the expedited permitting process used by LURC for industrial wind projects. Bob Weingarten, spokesperson for Friends of the Boundary Mountains, asks whether the LURC Commissioners, “will show a little long-range wisdom, and some defiance of corporate and political bullying, and meet their sworn responsibilities by standing up for Maine and its precious mountain environment.”
The Partnership for the Preservation of the Downeast Lakes Watershed (PPDLW) and the Maine Sporting Camp Association are also protesting the proposed Bowers Mountain/Kossuth zoning expansion in the world class Downeast Lakes region recently approved by LURC. “Both the Bowers/Kossuth expansion as well as TransCanada’s Kibby/Sisk Project and similar wind developments have the potential to significantly and permanently damage the tourism and recreational economy that many Mainer’s depend on for their livelihood, and could threaten the jobs and ruin the futures of Maine’s many Guides and Sporting Camps,” explained Registered Maine Master Guide, David Corrigan.
In order to balance the need to show public opposition to the recent LURC decisions that have expedited approval of industrial wind projects, while expressing the respect due to the incoming governor on the day of his inauguration, a solemn tone is intended for the 9:30 a.m. protest, after which participants will attend the LURC meeting inside the Spectacular Events Center.
The spirit of the protest will echo the statement made by LURC Commissioner Rebecca Kurtz on the Sisk expansion issue at the previous meeting, “If we cannot protect the 3,300-foot Sisk Mountain ridge line, then we should just throw away the comprehensive land use plan (CLUP). This is the sensitive of the sensitive.”
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