CARROLL PLANTATION, Maine – Three groups and a professional guide will get to cross examine First Wind officials who want to build an industrial wind site on Bowers Mountain when the state’s top environmental agency reviews the proposal in late April or early May, officials said Monday.
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has granted intervenor status to the Conservation Law Foundation, Maine Renewable Energy Association, the Partnership for the Preservation of the Downeast Lakes Watershed and David Corrigan of Fletcher Mountain Outfitters, said Samantha Depoy-Warren, spokeswoman for DEP.
Intervenor status allows those who receive the designation to be a formal party to the process, providing an opportunity for participation beyond what is typically afforded to the public, including the opportunity to present evidence under oath and cross examine other parties.
Corrigan and the Partnership group have declared their opposition to the project. Maine Renewable describes itself as “a not-for-profit association of renewable energy producers, suppliers of goods and services to those producers, and other supporters” of the wind industry, according to its Website, renewablemaine.org.
All of the intervenors said they would be “substantially and directly affected” by the project were it to be granted a DEP permit, DEP officials said. A DEP hearing officer granted intervenor status to the applicants in late January.
Corrigan and PPDLW leader Gary Campbell identified concerns that the development would have negative scenic and economic impacts on the residents and businesses near the project, and that the applicant’s decommissioning plan and financial capacity are deficient, according to documents filed with DEP.
DEP will likely hold the hearing in late April or early May in Bangor, Depoy-Warren said. DEP typically holds public meetings to weigh projects, but Commissioner Patricia Aho opted to hold a formal public hearing in fairness to all parties and to help the agency with its process, Depoy-Warren has said.
A First Wind subsidiary, Champlain Wind LLC, submitted a second application to build atop Bowers Mountain to the DEP in October. The second proposal features 16 turbines instead of 27, company officials have said.
More than 1,000 people have signed a petition opposing the project, including residents who attended a special town meeting in the Village of Grand Lake Stream, Campbell has said.
The first proposal was denied by the then Land Use Regulation Commission in April in the first significant victory against a wind developer by a Maine anti-wind group since they started fighting projects proposed by First Wind about five years ago.
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