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Special report: Roxbury wind project, one year later

One year into the blades spinning, the Record Hill Wind Project in Roxbury continues to be a divisive issue in the small town and in those around it.

News 13’s Jon Chrisos investigates in this special on your side report.

As the blades swirl up in the sky, so does controversy and worry over the wind on the ground. Like at Philip Paquette’s farm in Byron.

Philip Paquette: “We absolutely hate it, here it is we bought this place – 200 year old farm – and we bought it because we wanted to keep it as it was.”

But now, the landscape has changed, and this is what he sees.

Philip Paquette: “If you wanted to buy this place and you had to look at those for the next, minimum, 25 years – I wouldn’t buy this place. The noise drives you insane. I see it affect my animals, my dogs, affects me. I hear thumping all day long.”

14 of the 22 wind turbines stretch 4 miles across the Record Hill Ridge in Roxbury. Roxbury residents approved the project but the town of Byron, where Paquette lives, turned it down.

Philip Paquette: “No one wants it in their backyard but it’s not in my backyard, it’s in Roxbury’s and they put it in my backyard when I said no.”

To make the sting even sharper, Roxbury residents get checks 4 times a year to cover electricity costs. Byron residents, do not.

Philip Paquette: “We don’t get anything but we have to look at them.”

13 On Your Side reached out to top company leaders at Record Hill Wind to talk about some of these concerns.

Gordon Gamble, Record Hill Wind: “Some people love them, some people hate them, just the way it is.”

They pointed us to Gordon Gamble, director of community relations, “We’ve had a handful of complaints most when we first started up.”

But 1 year into the project, Gamble says he and the company take every complaint very seriously.

Gordon Gamble: “We’re also doing post construction sound monitoring as required under our permit – we haven’t had final results on that.”

Until then, he’s asking upset homeowners to start keeping a diary.

Gordon Gamble: “We need location, type of sound whether inside or outside – and that way help us address some things.”

In other parts of this same, small western Maine region, the 450 foot tall turbines and the big swirling blades go unnoticed.

Doreen Stinson, Roxbury resident: “Over where I live you don’t really see them. On the other side of the ridge, I haven’t been bothered by them.

From loans to grants, this project has cost taxpayers a lot of money, more than a $100 million.

[complete video available at source]

Part 2:  Special report: The cost of wind turbines in Maine