This is the message I sent to the Maine Legislature’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee, including the photos. It is NOT too late to email or call the Committee members to do the right thing and pass LD 911, which includes a greater scenic impact zone for the ever larger wind turbines and putting cumulative impact into the law as criteria. Here is the link to the Committee: http://www.maine.gov/legis/house/jt_com/enr.htm
As you consider LD 911 in your committee work session, please weigh the importance of keeping “Vacationland” from becoming a vast wind turbine plantation. Since the original “wind law” was passed for promoting a special interest, the Legislature has turned away any modifications to this heinous law. Maine is special because of its incredible and unique natural and scenic resources, but the “wind law” does not adequately protect these resources, which belong to the people of Maine, not the wind industry.
When the “wind law” was passed in 2008, the 8 mile scenic impact zone was applicable to the first generation of wind turbines erected, the GE 1.5 MW machines that topped out at 389 ft from base to apex of the blade. Few people then could envision where the wind sites would be located relative to Maine’s natural and scenic treasures, nor how large wind turbines would become. That has all changed in a scant 7 years. Proposed wind turbines in large numbers are up to 570 ft in height, necessitating a greater scenic impact zone.
Example: already visible from Mt. Katahdin are the industrial wind sites at Mars Hill, Stetson, and Rollins, all using the 389 ft tall turbines. Now rising in Oakfield are 50 turbines that are 489 ft. tall. A site in Medway/Molunkus will be nearly on the doorstep of Baxter State Park and those turbines will range from 510 ft to 570 ft tall. The Oakfield site is connected to the grid via a new 58 mile transmission line, meaning every ridge from Oakfield to Chester will be a possible industrial wind site. What happens to our Maine experience when Baxter State Park gets surrounded by wind turbines, built NOT to meet any electricity needs in Maine, but to take advantage of the tax schemes favorable to a special interest and to meet arbitrary renewable electricity mandates of southern New England states. Below is a photo of iconic Mt. Katahdin with the 389 ft tall Rollins Wind turbines in Lincoln. The Medway/Molunkus site is 20 miles closer to Maine’s greatest mountain!
It is time to consider the cumulative impact of industrial wind turbines in Maine, since we DO NOT NEED THEM and many people do not want them. Consider another example. Mt. Blue State Park, given to the people of the state of Maine by the Stowell family, qualifies as a “scenic resource of state significance” From this state park, instead of an uninterrupted vista of Maine’s western mountains, there are now 3 industrial wind sites visible: Spruce Mt. in Woodstock, Record Hill in Roxbury, and now under construction, Saddleback Ridge in Carthage. Soon to join the negative scenic impact on Mt. Blue is the Canton Mt. project in Canton that has been approved. How many more ridges will be blasted away to put up industrial eyesores, further damaging the scenic value of not only Mt. Blue State Park, put also adjacent Maine Public Reserved Lands on Jackson and Tumbledown Mountain?
Lastly, the famed Appalachian Trail traverses the spine of Maine’s Longfellow Range from the New Hampshire border to the northern terminus at Mt. Katahdin. Maine’s section is highly acclaimed for its rugged and unique terrain as well as the true wilderness experience where vistas contain very little impact of development. Will this national treasure be transformed from a seemingly endless series of vistas of Maine’s beauty or become a corridor through a vast wind turbine plantation? You can stop this from happening by passing LD 911 that is a minor amendment to the “wind law” that will make important adjustments to protect the beauty and soul of our incredibly beautiful and unique State of Maine.
This is a photo of the Record Hill Wind project in Roxbury, taken from the Appalachian Trail at the summit of Baldface Mountain. Scenic Roxbury Pond is in the valley. The peak in the distance is Mt. Blue, the centerpiece of Mt. Blue State Park. These turbines are 459 ft. tall and the line of machines, which produce intermittently at less than 30% of their design capacity, shatter the vista. In Portland, if a developer proposed a 50 story building, everyone would scream and holler about such a building being “out of place” and “way out of scale”. Yet that is the height of these machines that we allow to impact our finest natural and scenic treasures.
Please pass LD 911 with its sensible and desperately needed additional protections for Maine. Thank You.
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