In response to the Jan. 7 letter by Scott Cuddy of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers , the state is not stalling the Bowers Mountain wind project. The project had already been denied by the Land Use Regulation Commission, now the Land Use Planning Commission, in April 2012.
Champlain Wind LLC (First Wind) subsequently submitted a slightly revised application to the Department of Environmental Protection when land use decisions in the unorganized territories moved over to the DEP. The DEP denied a permit to construct a wind farm on Bowers Mountain in August 2013.
Cuddy may be referring to the fact that First Wind subsequently appealed the DEP’s August 2013 decision to the Board of Environmental Protection, a seven-member citizen board created by the Legislature to provide independent interpretation of the laws relating to environmental protection, and the appeal has yet to be decided.
In the end, LURC, DEP and BEP must make decisions based on Maine law. LURC and DEP both found that the Bowers project would have “an unreasonable adverse effect on the scenic character and existing uses related to scenic character” (2008 Wind Energy Act) in an area that includes eight lakes deemed scenic resources of state or national significance within eight miles of the project site.
A very special Maine environment, the Downeast Lakes region, was protected from adverse visual effects of 460-foot tall wind turbines that would have forever changed the character of a wilderness-like area, and the businesses that depend on this area for ecotourism.
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