I have just read a chilling paragraph from the book “Lost Villages of Flagstaff Lake” by Alan L. Burnell and Kenny R. Wing. Many people are aware of the historic flooding by Central Maine Power Company of the villages of Flagstaff, Dead River and Bigelow in order to build Long Falls Dam on the Dead River. The creation of Flagstaff Lake resulted only after a decades-long battle was waged over this project. Many, including former Governor Percival Baxter, believed that electricity created within the state of Maine should stay within its borders. And they believed that what was good for the people of Maine was – and should be – more important than the convenience and profit of others.
This book makes a stunning comparison to the current efforts to stop the building of massive wind energy facilities atop Maine’s iconic mountains.
From “Lost Villages of Flagstaff Lake”:
“The people living in Maine’s western mountains are faced with similar issues as the former residents of Flagstaff, Dead River, and Bigelow….many residents feel they are now being asked to give up what they believe is a piece of what makes this area special—its natural beauty. They feel they are being asked to sacrifice some of their inheritance so that other people might benefit financially, while at the same time being asked to accept the degradation that is inundating this area’s mountaintops. We must ask ourselves, “What is the price of power?”
A chilling question.
I have friends – Mainers – who are still resentful of the fact that they were uprooted from their homes. That the ‘state’ was allowed to take their property and diminish their quality of life for a power plan which was not to their benefit (the villages did not have centralized electricity and appeared contented with that fact), but for others’ profit and a supposed benefit to ‘all’. And just as Walter Wyman, an original owner of CMPC, offered to invest $150 million in Maine industry if the state revoked the Fernald Law, which prohibited the export of hydro-electric power generated in Maine, so, today, are wind developers allowed to buy off people in communities where they wish to build their developments. This state-sanctioned bribery is called ‘tangible benefits’ and ‘mitigation.’
I find this not only sad, but shameful. And I wonder what Percival Baxter would think.
Karen Bessey Pease
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