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The wind knocked out of ME

Maine is heading for impending disaster and it’s called, “cumulative impact.”

We as citizens need to make conscious and educated decisions NOW that protect our state’s unique assets and unparalleled “quality of place.”

If we don’t, industrial wind developers without concern (capitalizing on former Governor Baldacci’s expedited wind law which passed quietly in the legislature in 2008) will succeed in destroying our mountaintops here in Maine as they line their own pockets green.

Being robbed of their liberties, Mainers from all walks of life are experiencing a profound loss of individual wealth as grid-scale industrial wind facilities crop up all over this state. The equity citizens have earned in their homes and properties is at stake, along with the flawlessness of Maine’s scenic vistas and views, the health of habitat for our wildlife, including birds of prey, bats, deer, amphibians and other species, and the quality of the tranquility we’ve all come to enjoy here.

I am very concerned for the communities of Pleasant Ridge, Lexington Township and Highland Plantation in this current onslaught. It is hard to know where to help. Wounds in this land are gaping, everywhere. Greedy, corporate industrialists are moving in for the kill; organizations like Yale University and their $17 million dollar feel-good endowment, backing such developers as Highland Wind LLC, in the destruction of Maine’s finest assets.

“Welcome to Maine… Sorry We Ruined It,” is a slogan currently being considered for a bumper sticker, I understand. That’s appropriate.

Do you know what a clear night sky in all its star-studded glory looks like from the ground in one of Maine’s rural (and unprotected) unorganized territories? Meditate on that for a moment. That perfect and awesome expanse will cease to exist with cumulative impact, as towers and their red, flashing lights for miles and miles dominate this new landscape called “turbineland.”

In my travels now, when I scan the horizon, I realize that many of Maine’s majestic blue mountains and rolling foothills will become extinct in my lifetime. We have much work to do, archiving unspoiled vistas and recording wildlife in nature, before these treasures are replaced, and displaced. It is hard to imagine that man, here, could undo creation and the work of the glaciers of long ago; hollowing out mountain tops, collapsing forests, fishery systems and entire ecosystems —all for an efficiency factor of 22 percent or one fifth of capacity; the price we have already paid for the sacrificial Kibby Range.

I can hardly breathe when I envision the future; I consider these truths and I can’t see the stars through the trees. I have a funny feeling in my chest and it hurts.

I’ve had the wind knocked out of me.

Kirsten Burbank is a resident of Salem Township.