In one of the most hotly disputed industrial wind development proposals to come before Maine’s Land Use Regulation Commission, citizens of this state spoke out in opposition to the Bowers project by a margin of 9:1.
Champlain Wind LLC, one of the many limited liability subsidiaries of First Wind of Boston, is proposing to build a grid-scale wind facility on Bowers Mountain in Carroll Plantation and Dill Hill in Kossuth Township. The proposed development would site 22 wind turbines, each approaching 500 feet tall, on a ridge overlooking the Downeast Lakes Watershed.
Based on LURC’s Wild Land Lakes Assessment study of over 1,500 lakes, this watershed has the highest concentration of Class 1A and 1B rated lakes in the state. In order to achieve that rating a lake had to exhibit “outstanding values of statewide significance.” There are at least six lakes in this watershed that have a “1A” rating, three that have a “1B” rating and numerous others that are rated as a “2”.
During the application process, Maine citizens requested and were granted a public hearing. An astonishing 374 citizens gave oral or written testimony about this project. Three hundred thirty-seven (337) or 90.1% of those testifying were opposed to First Wind’s Bowers Mountain project.
Due to concerns that such massive industrialization would seriously damage the area’s
extraordinary scenic value; more than two dozen professional guides and many of the local
sporting camp owners took precious time away from their businesses during peak tourist season to come to Lincoln to testify in person. Three prominent organizations, representing nearly 1,000 Maine business owners who are familiar with the watershed, publicly came out against the Bowers project:
* The Maine Professional Guides Association, 900 strong, which has representatives on committees such as Tourism, Conservation, Land Access, Landowners Relations, River Trust and others, voted unanimously to oppose the Bowers project.
* The Maine Sporting Camp Association, which represents more than 50 sporting camp owners.
* The Grand Lake Stream Guides Association, representing 50 full-time professional
guides who make their livelihood on the Downeast Lakes Watershed, voted unanimously to oppose the Bowers project.
Friends of Maine’s Mountains President Chris O’Neil expressed hope that the tide is turning, and theat LURC will say No to First Wind: “It is encouraging to see this growing number of Maine people doing their homework, and realizing that industrial wind is all impact and no benefit. It’s just not worth it.”
Chris O’Neil, President
Friends of Maine’s Mountains
Friends of Maine’s Mountains 284 Main Street, Ste. 200, Wilton, Maine 04294 (207)-645-3699