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Paris braces for wind debate  

Credit:  By Matt Hongoltz-Hetling, www.advertiserdemocrat.com 4 August 2011 ~~

PARIS – The wind power debate hasn’t come to Paris yet, but one town official wants to be prepared if and when it does.

Selectwoman Jean Smart warned her colleagues, during a July 25 meeting of the board, that the town should draft an ordinance governing wind farms before it’s too late.

“We cannot just ignore this,” said Smart. “If a large company begins to buy land in town to build a farm, we will have no recourse and nothing to fall back on.”

The wind power debate has ripped through various communities, as wind power companies eye the windswept peaks of area mountains, while opponents decry the spoiling of pristine views and habitats.

Smart said that her eyes had been opened to the issue during a statewide conference on wind power hosted by the Maine Municipal Association.

Other communities, such as Buckfield and Sumner, have become the setting for contentious debates that highlight stark differences of opinion among town officials and residents.

Smart said that she would like to see the issue resolved for Paris without the conflict that accompanies a specific proposed project. She said that personal interests can cloud the discussion in such cases.

Smart said that she would like to see the town’s Planning Board develop a wind ordinance, and she said that she has copies of sample ordinances that range from very restrictive, to very permissive.

On a suggestion from Board Chair Ted Kurtz, the board agreed to add the issue to a list of scheduled workshop items for the board.

Wind power advocates are often attracted to the environmental benefits of sustainable wind power, while opponents typically cite health and noise concerns.

Source:  By Matt Hongoltz-Hetling, www.advertiserdemocrat.com 4 August 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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