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More questions arise for Carthage wind project

DIXFIELD – A three-and-a-half hour public session Thursday night on a proposed 12-turbine wind project in Carthage has prompted a number of questions by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

DEP project director Mark Margerum said Monday that the volume of questions and some of the specifics means more information will be needed from project developer Patriot Renewables LLC of Quincy, Mass., as well as a determination on whether the public has additional questions on the project.

He, along with several other DEP representatives and other state agency people, held the session at Dirigo High School. More than 100 people from Carthage and surrounding towns attended the hearing.

Margerum declined to provide details on the type and nature of the specific questions the regulatory agency wants. He said the DEP does not plan another hearing on the proposal.

However, he said the Board of Environmental Protection plans to hold hearings on the noise issues surrounding the construction and operation of wind turbines for all proposed wind projects sometime in May.

Action on the Carthage proposal had originally been set for April. That date may change, although Margerum could not say when the new date would be.

A complete transcript of Thursday night’s testimony will be available to the public in about two weeks. Because of the length of the testimony, it will be available only through the Internet. Those interested may request that the transcript be e-mailed to them by calling Margerum at 287-7842.

Although several people testified in favor of the wind project because it could provide jobs, a larger tax base, and renewable energy, many others testified against it because of possible health and property value issues. Many objected to the project because it can be seen from several sites in Mount Blue State Park.

The proposed Carthage project is one of three advanced by Patriot Renewables in the immediate area that would connect into one larger wind energy project. It is the furthest along and is before the DEP for action. The others are in the adjacent towns of Dixfield, where up to 13 turbines are proposed for the Colonel Holman Mountain ridgeline, and in Canton, where seven turbines are proposed for construction on Canton Mountain.

Virtually all the land that would be needed for turbine construction in the three towns is privately held.