There’s been a lot of talk about whether or not the proposed wind ordinance is “fair.”
We should understand that the wind industry has no inherent, inalienable rights to exist in our town; an ordinance will establish what rights they do have.
Fairness can only then be gauged – by how the town manages and enforces that ordinance.
But the fairness that I am most concerned with is the fairness we afford to future generations who will inhabit Rumford. Will we saddle them with a chain of hulking hilltop refuse from an industry that collapsed when its subsidies vanished, or when technology passed their machinery by?
Future generations will be all the more bitter, knowing that wind power increased energy bills, devalued our local properties, and disturbed the peace of our region – and that these sacrifices were made for an industry that Maine did not really need; that ridge top wind power neither diminished our oil dependence, nor our greenhouse gas production, and was allowed at a moment in time when Maine already produced a surplus of electricity.
They will wonder why we allowed an ordinance that did not fully provide for the decommissioning of those massive facilities in the event that a company in a fledgling, subsidy-dependent industry folded within a decade.
The 2006 Brookings Institute report emphasized that Maine’s single most valuable asset is clearly its “quality of place” and its scenic “brand.” Is it fair to future generations to squander that unique asset for less than ten permanent jobs in an industry that will produce an unneeded product, and export its taxpayer-subsidized profits outside our community?
Once upon a time, fire towers (unobtrusive, silent, and a source of spectacular views) dotted our region’s mountains.
Technology rendered them obsolete, and now they are almost all torn down—some rusting in heaps, toppled in place. These wind turbines will dwarf those towers several times over in size and in numbers, and require resculpting the mountains to install them.
What will their legacy be, when they are rendered obsolete in the world of rapidly changing energy technology? Vote “no” on the wind ordinance!
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