Library filed under Impact on People from Maine
Forum organizers wanted to help residents of Fort Kent, a likely site for a large wind development, to explore the pros and cons of wind farms before any applications are filed, said David Soucy, a lawyer who helped organize the event. Texas-based Horizon Wind has been negotiating lease agreements with landowners in the Fort Kent area and in other parts of Aroostook County with an eye toward building a wind farm. "The issue is not whether wind farms are a good idea or not," Soucy said. "The issue is where can they be ideally situated."
Residents will have the opportunity at the next annual town meeting to decide the fate of a citizens petition seeking a 180-day moratorium on the construction or processing of applications for wind power facilities. ...After the closed-door session ...the council voted to include the petitioners' warrant request at the next annual town meeting and to request that the petitioners submit a draft warrant item and draft moratorium ordinance by Dec. 31, and directed the town manager to assemble a list of people willing to participate in a study group to review the proposed ordinance and report to the Town Council and planning board.
[T]here are some negatives associated with the increasingly popular form of alternative energy, according to a University of New Hampshire expert. But the cons - mainly noise and vibrations from the rotating turbines - are generally things people can live with, UNH assistant professor of geography Mary Lemcke said. In South Berwick, a 300-foot-high ridge across from Marshwood High School is being eyed as a possible location for a wind farm. A Cape Neddick-based alternative energy company is conducting a yearlong wind study there with the hopes a wind farm would be viable. For Wisconsin resident Gerry Meyer, however, the sound of five 400-foot-tall wind turbines located within three quarters of a mile of his home is simply unbearable.
As opponents of a $120 million wind power development slated for Rollins Mountain, the Friends of Lincoln Lakes residents group will ask the Town Council and planning board next week for a moratorium on all pending wind projects, its organizers said Thursday. Group members will attend council and board meetings next week after taking in the third hearing held by wind farm proponent First Wind of Massachusetts on Wednesday at Mattanawcook Academy, group member Gary Steinberg said. They fear that local boards haven't had adequate time to learn enough about wind farms' potentially hazardous impact upon municipalities and wildlife.
"My fear is that the aesthetics, the whole feel of the area and the views of the ridge, I really feel that this will be gone soon," Wotton said. "That's my biggest fear." That's why Wooton is a member of the newly formed Friends of Rollins Ridge group, an organization of about a dozen town residents that is investigating, and likely will oppose, a proposed $120 million wind farm that, if approved, will go on sites in Burlington, Lee, Lincoln and Winn, including Rollins Mountain.
In Vermont the parties are still waiting for a decision on the Sheffield project, which was argued before the high court in May. A clerk at the Supreme Court said Tuesday she has no idea when a decision might be announced. Meanwhile, the opponents of big wind in western New York believe they are finally getting the recognition they deserve with this month's announcement by the AG's office in Albany.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Many of the landowners whose property abuts the Beaver Ridge windmill project met at the Beaver Ridge Road home of Sally Hadyniak Saturday afternoon to voice some concerns about the windmill project and explain why they want the town to reinstate its commercial development review ordinance. ...[Resident Jeff] Keating explained at Saturday's press conference that he wants to see in writing that the builders of the project, formerly referred to as Competitive Energy Services (CES) but now known as Beaver Ridge Wind LLC, will abide by the standards set forth in the ordinance. Originally, CES had worked with the town while it created the ordinance but, according to the abutters, were ultimately unwilling to make the windmill project meet the ordinance's guidelines, and encouraged the town to get rid of the ordinance after it had been enacted.
The neighbors of the proposed wind turbine project in Freedom are asking the voters of Freedom to reinstate the Commercial Review Ordinance at the June referendum, retroactive to the date of the repeal. This is the only way to put some reasonable standards in force. When the town voted to repeal the ordinance last year, we were told the Planning Board would write a new one. That has not happened. ...Consequently, we have no protection from noise, ice throw, strobe effect, no safety setbacks, no standards of any type. These 400-foot turbines will be located only 350 feet from our property lines. We don't even have a fall zone, much less the safety setbacks recommended by turbine manufacturers.
We all support clean energy - but what if its expectations are unmet? Maine has one windmill project up and running in Mars Hill, with its share of controversy. There are additional projects proposed in other sections of Maine. The governor's wind power task force has proposed at least 2,000 megawatts within seven years, and an additional 1,000 megawatts within five years after that. I was a proponent of clean energy - something must be done for our environment. But after much discussion, a lot of listening and some research, I now have questions that must be answered before I can support any wind power project in Maine.
Robert and Becky Burtchell of Mars Hill, ME provided this letter to the residents of Roxbury, ME in hopes the voters of Roxbury would make an informed decision before agreeing to permit industrial turbines on their ridgelines. This letter is published here with the permission of the Burtchells.
Mars Hill, Maine
Mars Hill, Maine
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 on the front of the mountains. We believed them. That was our biggest mistake. At that time we had no idea that the town fathers had not even read the application that they had co-signed on or hired a lawyer to explain it to them. They had no idea what they had agreed to. They, in turn, had 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'.to hear anything. I believe that is still in their propaganda. ...A close friend of ours wanted to buy ten acres of land from us for a house lot. After he saw what was happening he decided he definitely did not want to live with the windmills in his front yard. Sadly, we agreed with him.
State officials touted Maine's capacity to become a major producer of pollution-free wind power on Tuesday during a ceremony marking the first anniversary of electricity production at the Mars Hill wind farm. ...Several speakers at Tuesday's event did acknowledge that the Mars Hill facility has had challenges, however. Foremost among those is the ongoing noise concerns raised by some neighbors of the wind farm. Neighbors have claimed that UPC Wind is violating its permit conditions because of excessive noise from the turbines. Company representatives say all of the tests have come back showing that the facility is in compliance. But earlier this winter, an organization called Industrial Wind Action Group filed a complaint with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection claiming that UPC Wind used flawed methodology when calculating noise levels.