Dear fellow CTFWP members,
In November 2009, the Citizen’s Task Force on Wind Power was established at a meeting in Augusta attended by 27 concerned citizens from around the state. The meeting was organized by Dr. Monique Aniel and Steve Thurston, who were appointed co-chairs. Three goals were established at the first meeting:
1. To influence the legislative and regulatory processes to protect the health and welfare of citizens from the harmful effects of recent laws favoring wind power;
2. To advocate in the judicial system for the rights of citizens impacted by wind projects;
3. To create a repository of wind power information to help citizens respond to the prospect of wind turbine projects in their towns.
During the 3 years since its inception, the CTFWP has grown to 537 members via the website www.WindTaskForce.org. As more wind projects have been approved and constructed, more citizens have become concerned about the impacts to the health of nearby residents and the loss of “Quality of Place” that has accompanied each project.
As a result of testimony by CTFWP members and other concerned citizens, in April 2011 the Maine legislature instructed the Governor’s Office of Energy Independence and Security to thoroughly investigate the problems resulting from the “Expedited Wind Law” of 2008. The final report, released in March 2012, contained many of the recommendations of the CTFWP and awaits action by the incoming legislature.
In September 2011, The Board of Environmental Protection, in response to a citizens’ petition organized by CTFWP, took the unprecedented action of creating a separate section in the state’s noise regulations dealing specifically with turbine noise, and reduced the nighttime turbine noise limit from 45 to 42 decibels. The Maine legislature subsequently approved these changes and they went into effect in June of this year. This revision to Maine’s noise regulations effectively increased the setback distance from dwellings and will help prevent future projects from creating the annoyance and sleep disturbance which have been endemic in Maine and around the world.
During the past three years many towns have adopted protective wind turbine ordinances based on current knowledge about the noise impacts of large industrial turbines. Typically these ordinances are even more restrictive than state regulations. As a result, many miles of ridgeline have been spared from the disastrous effects of deforestation, blasting of roads and turbine foundation holes, and the visual blight of increasingly larger turbines and the accompanying transmission lines .
As a consequence of these actions, the tireless resistance to projects by local groups, and due to the difficulties wind developers are having in financing their projects in the face of low electricity prices and the elimination of federal subsidies, the overall pace of new project proposals and approvals in has slowed down somewhat versus earlier years.
Although significant progress has been made in achieving the goals we set for ourselves, the wind industry remains a serious threat, and the ongoing battle continues.
As the Citizens Task Force on Wind Power begins its fourth year, we believe it is time for new leadership to carry forward the mission. Charter member and Communications Director Brad Blake has agreed to take over as interim Chairman effective immediately until the next organizational meeting.
We are confident that with his comprehensive knowledge, his passion for Maine and dedication to the cause, Brad’s leadership will enable the CTFWP to continue growing as it responds to the challenges that lie ahead.
As for ourselves, although we are stepping down as co-chairs, we are not exiting the wind fight and will continue to help in the overall effort.
We urge you to welcome Brad in his new role and offer him your support.
Your talents and willingness to be involved are crucial to our success.
Monique Aniel, MD