I applauded your recent editorial concerning the leveling of playing fields concerning the wind power industry. It basically stated everything we, the residents of North Orland, have long been saying. There are copious amounts of money being proffered to any community willing to have them. Ask any selectmen if they have it in writing about the amount mentioned by the various mailings sent by the company wishing to erect the turbines. I refer to it as the “shiny sparkly” (a quote from “The Secret of Nimh”) in which the crow is dazzled by the sparkly object and easily dissuaded from the subject at hand.
The letters to the editor this week have me smiling in disbelief and resignation. The letter from the subject living in Blue Hill is more than welcome to his opinion because he will never see wind turbines in his community. Blue Hill has a highly restrictive wind power ordinance. The other gentleman might want to check the Ellsworth Wind Power Ordinance. Wait….Ellsworth does not have one. Silly me. Wind power turbines can go up anywhere in Ellsworth as long as they conform to the state’s standards. Bucksport? No ordinance? They probably won’t approach your town, right? Feeling safe? So did we.
I left the drawing up of the wind power ordinance in Orland to the Planning Board and the selectmen with the thought that they would be looking out for everyone’s best interest. When the representative of the wind power turbine project came to my door and said that if we did not want this in our neighborhood they would not go forward, I believed him. Again, silly me.
Our house is exactly a half-mile from the proposed site of the turbines. We have stated repeatedly we would not sign a waiver, so all the builders have to do is move it back a few feet. What we are trying to do with a moratorium, due to be voted on Jan. 20, 2015, is to toughen up, not block, wind power. Currently there is no limit in the Orland ordinance as to the height of this project. There is still much study going on about the effects of the turbines on animals and humans within a 4,000-foot range. This is a new industry, one with not a lot of regulations or study. It should be incumbent on our officials, state and local, to preserve what freedoms we still have to protect our land, our health and our way of life.
The selectmen sent out a mailing that pretty much stated how they felt about the wind turbine project. They stated that they have been asked where this group that is asking for the moratorium has been. We have been studying information, researching other towns, the construction of said wind turbines and possible impacts upon health, property values and, most especially, the environment. We wish to strengthen the ordinance so that everyone is protected equally. Wind power is a renewable resource. It can benefit many if done in a responsible way. Why the rush?
We have attended most all of the Planning Board meetings for the last year. When stating our concerns about having no say in what is going on literally in our backyard, we have been referred to, on more than one occasion, as a “special interest group.” We are residents, citizens and taxpayers and should not be portrayed as a special interest group. If the town proposed an energy recovery site on the Back Ridge Road, a nuclear power plant on the Castine Road or a wind farm just off the coast of Leaches Point Road would those citizens be portrayed as special interest groups? And, believe me, if that did come to pass I would back those citizens 100 percent. Far fetched? Perhaps, but who would have predicted we would have three turbines proposed for everyone in the communities of Orland, Ellsworth, Bucksport, Dedham and Holden to see? If it happens to one of us, it happens to us all.