December 12, 2013

Friends of Maine’s Mountains challenges Audubon’s wind-energy support

By Kelley Bouchard, Staff Writer | Portland Press Herald | December 12, 2013 |

Friends of Maine’s Mountains is challenging Maine Audubon to retract a recently published study promoting wind energy as compatible with wildlife and to acknowledge corporate funding from the wind-power industry.

Maine Audubon, a nonprofit based in Falmouth, released a report Dec. 4 saying that the state has 1.1 million acres of land with enough wind to produce power, and that wind turbines may be developed on 84 percent of that area with minimal impact on some wildlife and habitat resources.

Friends of Maine’s Mountains claims that the Audubon report is “deficient in necessary scientific rigor required to conclude that industrial wind turbines are not detrimental to Maine’s wildlife and their habitats,” according to a news release issued Wednesday.

Friends of Maine’s Mountains is a nonprofit group that has opposed wind-energy projects and advocates on behalf of natural resources, reliable energy and affordable power.

The Weld-based group also concluded that Maine Audubon’s report gives the wind industry a “free pass” to develop projects without regard for wildlife impacts, and the group’s leaders urged Maine Audubon to re-evaluate its association with wind-energy companies.

Among Maine Audubon’s top corporate donors is First Wind, a renewable-energy company that has developed and operates 16 wind-energy projects in Maine, New York, Vermont, Utah, Washington and Hawaii.

According to Maine Audubon’s website, the Boston-based firm donates at a level on par with with L.L.Bean and Maine Magazine, each having contributed more than $10,000 to the wildlife advocacy group this year.

This story will be updated.

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