In April, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife submitted “agency review comments” regarding the grid-scale industrial wind facility proposed by Highland Wind LLC for the mountains in Highland Plantation. That report was a major factor in withdrawal of Highland Wind’s permit application for the project. Angus King, however, made it clear that his corporation intends to resubmit that application.
The intervenors believe Highland Wind cannot possibly mitigate the potential damage to the wildlife in this region. Of particular interest were comments about raptors passing through the project area as being “among the highest reported for projects in Maine. Furthermore, a high proportion of nocturnal migrants and diurnal raptors pass the project area at altitudes equal to or less than the maximum turbine heights, greatly increasing the risk of collision.”
Maine citizens were relieved that Fish & Wildlife stepped forward to protect Maine’s wildlife. Too often, as pertains to wind projects, our native species have been bargaining chips; “belongings” that could be “mitigated.”
In the Trans-Canada/Kibby project, the developer spent $500,000 to buy a conservation easement in another location – promising to protect the environment and wildlife there – in exchange for putting at risk the ecosystems/wildlife at Kibby.
They were allowed, in essence, to “kill babies here, but build an orphanage there.” In the Sisk expansion, the developer removed several turbines, thereby, it is hoped, lessening the negative impacts to that unique, high-terrain ecosystem.
Fish & Wildlife’s comments about the Highland project were a breath of fresh air; allowing Mainers to believe that our state is not for sale to the highest bidder. We hope the department will stand by its report, and not allow Highland Wind to “mitigate” bald eagles, bats and other indigenous wildlife.
Karen Bessey Pease
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