Friends of Maine’s Mountains Denounces LURC Ruling on Kibby Expansion
Ruling Highlights Flaws in Maine Law Expediting Industrial Wind
Wilton, ME – Friends of Maine’s Mountains (FMM), the leading group dedicated to protecting Maine’s mountain regions from threats to their natural and human environments, has denounced the decision announced Wednesday by the Land Use Regulation Commission which formally approves an 11-turbine expansion to the Kibby Wind Power Project in northern Franklin County.
The expansion along the 3,300-foot Sisk Mountain ridgeline of the TransCanada project was originally rejected in a December straw poll of LURC commissioners. Despite being 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, Friends of Maine’s Mountains and many private citizens, the application for expansion was accepted and the erection of eleven additional industrial wind turbines atop Kibby Mountain was approved by a 5 to 1 vote at Wednesday’s brief meeting of LURC.
Opposition to the expansion among the members of the Land Use Regulation Commission was greater than the vote results displayed. Commissioners Sally Farrand and Ed Laverty remarked that they believe tthe state’s expedited wind law, LD 2283, An Act To Implement Recommendations of the Governor’s Task Force on Wind Power Development, was a bad idea and that they could not effectively do their jobs unless they ignored the law. Complaining that LD 2283 left him no choice but to approve the plan, Laverty said, “I don’t think we are in a position to flout the position of the State Legislature. We’re not legislators. We don’t dictate policy; we implement it. Maybe I should consider resigning. Maybe that’s what I need to do.”
Registered Maine Master Guide David Corrigan of Concord Township attended yesterday’s hearing. “By their own comments before the vote, several of the LURC commissioners made it clear that they believed they were following the will of the Legislature,” observed Corrigan. “They also made it apparent that they are not happy about this, and would like the Legislature to rethink the wind permitting laws that are at odds with the Comprehensive Land Use Plan, and the very mandate of LURC to protect the Unorganized Territories. I hope the Legislature takes notice.”
Commissioner Rebecca Kurtz was the dissenting vote, noting she couldn’t support the 11-turbine expansion due to the sensitivity of the region’s ecology. “It makes no sense. We all know from Ecology 101 that all these resources are interconnected, that you can’t impact one without impacting the others,” said Kurtz. “Why we are allowing this to happen when there are rare species of concern being disturbed and there are other places to put wind towers, I don’t know.”
Steve Thurston, co-Chair of the Citizen’s Task Force on Wind Power and member of the Board of Directors of Friends of Maine’s Mountains, remarked, “Clearly the problem here is with the process. By the admission of some of their own members, LURC is constrained by the law that results in disregarding their own mandate to protect the environment from these industrial wind construction projects. This has happened in each and every wind project that comes before LURC, and unless something changes in the law, I fear we will see this repeated again and again.”
Friends of Maine’s Mountains is a research and educational organization whose mission is to research, formulate and promote effective and reliable energy and power solutions that will protect Maine’s natural resources, especially Maine’s mountains.
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