For the last two and half years, FEN has been at the forefront of exposing what I call the "Great Green Mountaintop Industrial Wind Scam". If I had been asked three years ago about the potential for wind on Maine's mountains, I would have been enthusiastic. Indeed, FEN supported the Mars Hill project, endorsed John Baldacci's Wind Taskforce, and took little notice of the Expedited Wind Law when it was passed by the legislature. I remember the day Angus King called to talk about his plans for the Highland Mountains - in my backyard. He mentioned that there wasa great renewable energy opportunity on the ridges of the Highland Mountains. In fact, the winds were so strong that one of the meteorological test towers had blown down. I told him I would be happy to snowshoe up with him and take a look. This was mid- January -- he declined!
Hindsight is always 20-20. FEN's initial delirium around mountaintop industrial wind was partly a result of our great commitment to stopping the ongoing crisis of climate change - a commitment we still maintain. In addition, in FEN's defense, a lot of what we know today about the massive ecological damage with no carbon reduction was not well documented and understood.
FEN has always taken positions based on science. We have always tried to find the most recent research and to examine it with an open and questioning mind. This is not always easy, and as a scientist, I know that it is possible to fall into the trap of finding only the science that fits your agenda. But in this case, the facts are the facts and the science is very clear - mountaintop industrial wind destroys forests, lays waste to fragile mountaintops, alters mountain hydrology, causes soil erosion and heavy metal leaching, eliminates important wildlife habitat, kills birds and bats, and does NOT reduce carbon emissions. In addition, it destroys the wild, scenic quality and silence of the mountains with flashing red lights and industrial high and low frequency sounds.
This issue of The Maine Woods is focused on exposing the lies and propaganda of the industrial wind developers. First Wind, Independence Wind, Iberdrola, Trans-Canada, and Patriots Renewable etc. have all exploited the fear of climate change in order to pocket billions of citizens' tax dollars. These folks don't care about climate change. They are not ecological thinkers. They do, however, represent the epitome of the corporate greed that has engulfed this country and the western world. These mountain slayers and profiteers are scam artists. With their money and bribes, they have bought public policy by buying politicians and gained access to the treasury through outright grants, loan guarantees, and production tax credits.
This group of scam artists, through their liberal dispensing of money and incestuous networking, have been able to form a cabal with the armchair - like NRCM and Maine Audubon. This cabal reminds me of the alliance between these "enviro" groups and the paper industry during the timber wars more than a decade ago. In the beginning, some understanding for the armchairers' betrayal of the Maine mountains was warranted. After all, it took FEN time to get to the truth. However, in spite of their legitimate concerns about climate change, there is no way an environmentalist can continue to endorse mountaintop industrial wind - unless, perhaps, there is a money trail!
I remain optimistic that the gold rush and ecological carnage of industrial wind will cease in the coming year. FEN has done a great job helping to inspire many wind warriors and to educate the public about the lies of the industrial wind cabal. If it were not for the efforts of FEN and others, it is very probable that we would be experiencing industrial wind construction on Sisk Mountain, on Stewart, Witham, Burnt, Bald and Briggs in Highland, on Bowers Mountain and Dill Hill, on Ragged Mountain in Camden, and on Saddleback Mountain in Carthage. It is clear that when the free money dries up, the mountain slayers and profiteers will close up shop. Unfortunately, we have already lost pieces of wild Maine - Mars Hill, Kibby Mountain, Stetson, Record Hill, Rollins, Freedom, Vinalhaven, and Spruce Mountain. There is some solace in knowing that in ten years, when many of these boondoggles are standing idle and rusting, we can take them down and allow nature to heal the damage to the forests and mountaintops.
I hope you find this edition of The Maine Woods both informative and thought provoking.