I encourage voters to vote "no" to these changes. By voting "no," voters will say "yes" to keeping these majestic mountains intact, placed there by Mother Nature, God, or whomever people believe had a hand in the Western mountains' design.
Nothing is free. There are conditions to the free electricity offer. It is not nice to play with Mother Nature. Disrupting the mountains will plague lives forever.
The Maine Legislature has voted that there should be 3,000 megawatts (a megawatt equals a million watts) of wind power in Maine by 2020. That is something like voting for free ice cream. ...What the country and the state need is a long-range, comprehensive energy policy for the gradual but steady transition away from imported fossil fuels. If there is a magic word, it is "plan."
Roxbury voters are at a fork in the road. They can ignore the loophole-filled promises of free electricity and property tax savings and vote to keep the ridges free from gigantic arm-waving machines, or they can cave in to the lure of easy money and sell Roxbury's soul to the industrial wind "farmers."
But let's not fool ourselves that the sacrifice of Roxbury's scenic vistas is justified to curb global warming, or to replace fossil fuel-burning power plants, or reduce dependence on foreign oil, because none of these things will happen. But don't take my word for it.
Concerning wind energy and the proposed wind farms in Oxford county, certainly health hazards to those who live near wind farms is a consideration. However, let's look at the legitimacy and desirability of wind power as a source of energy.
At first glance wind power seems like a clean, renewable source of energy, part of the solution for global warming.
However, wind power is unpredictable. Energy from industrial wind power can not be stored.
But the launch of the Freedom turbines brings old adages to mind: "Buyer beware" and "the devil is in the details" ...Freedom threw out its commercial ordinance to make way for the windmills, leaving residents with no legal recourse should the sunny predictions of the developers fall short.
It is also worth asking if Waldo County should welcome power plants selling exclusively out of state.
With growing concern, we read the report of radiologist Dr. Michael Nissenbaum's testimony about adverse health effects of wind farms, which are amplified over bodies of water. This is because First Wind is seeking permission from LURC to erect 17 wind turbines within a mile of Upper and Lower Hot Brook Lakes, just west of the Danforth town line which goes down the middle of the lakes.
With Byron voters rejecting Independence Wind's proposal for wind power, plans for 20 turbines in Roxbury are moving ahead, despite efforts from some townspeople to reverse approval of that project.
Meanwhile, another company - First Wind - plans turbines for nearby Black Mountain and will hold a meeting Thursday night to provide information and, probably, to quell the inevitable protest.
And, in a plot twist, Independence Wind has announced a "Power to the People" campaign. If the zoning needed for their turbines is approved and the turbines are built, they promise free electricity to all Roxbury residents.
This week, the state of Rhode Island selected a New Jersey-based company, Deepwater Wind, to finance and construct a 100-turbine windfarm between 15 and 20 miles off shore. The project is estimated to cost $1.5 billion. ...Maine's approach to wind power development - land and offshore - is different. Instead of directing the process, this state has allowed firms to develop their own plans. The process is slow and the results, so far, mixed.
Site-by-site proposals from companies have resulted in uneven regulatory reviews and divergent opinions on its gains or drains.
The wind turbine project for the mountains between Roxbury Pond and the Swift River in Roxbury is not suitable for the area. Environmental, health and quality of life impacts will be with area residents long after the wind turbines have been replaced with more reliable and efficient sources of power. People must always consider the environmental impact of any industry in the precious Maine woods and waters.
The Sun Journal editorial about T. Boone Pickens' wind power development (July 13) was right about the potential of wind power in the Great Plains states, but wrong about the feasibility of transmitting that power across the country to New England. ...While there is some wind potential in Aroostook and Washington Counties, there is less than most people seem to think. Many of the blueberry barren and potato farm field sites that were originally planned for development have proved to lack sufficiently strong winds to make turbines a good investment.
This task force abandoned the very idea of stewardship and capitulated to temporary commands of a very temporary administration. LURC has become foot soldiers for developers and surrendered the near-sacred trust placed in them by former legislators, and the people of Maine, who have a field of vision broader than what is either convenient or politically correct.
It is lonely at the top of the mountain, standing against the tide of state policy, public opinion, public interest groups and deep pockets willing to exploit mountains as sacrificial areas in trades and arrangements to benefit their interests.
LURC has made a bad decision. Generations from now will look back and shake their heads at these piles of metal and wonder why.
There is ample evidence America's future for wind energy is mainly on the plains, not atop its peaks. If so, projects like TransCanada's 132-megawatt windfarm in northern Franklin County is perhaps the last of its kind.
Maybe it should be. ...
Turbines at high altitude just seem to attract controversy. Contested wind power plans for peaks in Roxbury and Byron, Redington Pond Range and Black Nubble Mountain were all proposed for above 2,000 feet.
Kathryn Swegart's letter concerned former Gov. Angus King's proposal to research the feasibility to build 1,000 wind turbines 26 miles off the coast of Maine.
Just wondering, has King lost his mind? The cost of $15 billion is astronomical and with the rising costs of steel, copper for windings, not to mention the maintenance cost being 26 miles off the coast.
This is just plain nuts. ...The United States produces more power from geothermal energy than solar and wind combined. This type of power is definitely under-utilized.
Wind power is not the answer; any expert in the power generation field will tell you that it's too intermittent.
It's time to get real about our energy concerns in this state and explore all options but leave the crackpot ideas on the table.
What I want more than anything is for you to understand what the project will truly bring to the community. I am not judging whether it is right or wrong for Freedom, but there are answers that you need before you move forward. The residents who live the closest to the proposed site have legitimate concerns.
Many in our town opposed the project in Mars Hill, but time and time again the arguments were dismissed. The developer had answers for most of the questions of concern, but other questions were avoided with the suggestion that they would be researched and answered later. ...Turbine noise can range from barely audible to a gentle whooshing, to a high range jet overhead, to a number of jets overhead, to a wailing thumping beast that you can't escape. ...Please, use caution as you decide what is best for your town. Remember to treat each other with respect. Each side is fighting for what they believe is their right. I know if the Town of Mars Hill had understood everything about the project that it would be different than it is today. What if it was your property and your home that were going to be affected? Most people don't think about it until it happens to them. I know I didn't.
We had heard about the windmills, but when we asked how they would affect us if we bought the land, the town manager told us we wouldn't even see them, much less hear them because they were going to be on the front of the mountain.
We believed him. That was our biggest mistake. At the time, we had no idea that the town fathers had not even read the application that they had co-signed, nor hired a lawyer to explain it to them. They had no idea what they had agreed to. They believed everything UPC had told them.
The biggest lie of all was that there would be no noise, or you had to be within 500 feet to hear anything. I believe that is still the propaganda.
So Price intends to build this project no matter how the town votes -- no surprise. Why shouldn't he be confident? After all, his uncle, Selectman Ron Price, is running the show.
Wake up, folks, and see what's happening to our town. Don't believe their promise that three turbines is the end of it. CES would not buy up more land and run 10 miles of heavy duty transmission lines for just three turbines.
Freedom has sold out for the faint hope of some tax dollars -- and it's just a hope. Franklin County has a tax agreement with the developer - - so did Mars Hill. Not Freedom!
I highly recommend that you check out the "Task Force on Wind Power in Maine" Web site if you want to see an important aspect of Maine's future. Wind power appears to be Maine's next big, extractive industry. With goals of 2,000 megawatts of power by 2015 and 3,000 by 2020, that means a lot of wind towers, many where we live.
Let's think about 2,000 MW for a moment. ...At 3 towers per mile these wind power goals would mean hundreds of miles of towers strung across Maine's ridges and if mountain ridges are a dominant feature of our skyline consider replacing that image with wind towers, which could be a nearly omnipresent part of our landscape. ...we must get rid of this feel-good-but-profoundly-misleading notion that these wind towers will somehow save the planet or Maine life as we know it.
These and similar measures are far too little, too late to have a major impact on climate change.
My husband is gone now and his dream has become my nightmare because a company sweet-talked the town into approving a major industrial wind turbine project in our neighborhood. We paid for our home with our life's savings, and it was worth every penny. But it will be worth nothing if the noise of wind turbines takes the place of the street noise we left behind.
Please, do your homework and educate yourself about what these turbines really are like. This isn't the sweet deal for the town that the company promised.
The town has already spent too much money fighting Ron Price's battles. If the town spends more money fighting the road issue on Ron Price's behalf, then place the blame where it belongs.
The residents of Beaver Hill did not ask for this to happen to us. We feel that we are entitled to at least some protection, and that the town has largely ignored our concerns.
If this project goes through, Freedom will have the distinction of being the only industrial wind turbine project ever carried out in the State of Maine without any standards whatsoever. Please vote yes to reinstate the Commercial Development Review Ordinance on June 10.
The millions of people who live south of Maine in the region from Boston to New York create huge demands for electricity.
But because supplies are so limited, they have the highest power costs in America. ...Existing power lines running from central Maine to the south can't carry any greater peak load, either from within Maine or from our Canadian neighbors.
As one economist put it, Maine is sandwiched between 6-cent power to our north and a 10-cent market to our south. That price gap is creating pressure to build a new $1 billion transmission line to move electricity from northern generators to southern customers.