Library filed under Impact on People from Maine
At the September 6, 2017 meeting of the Somerset County Maine Commissioners, the Board adopted Resolution 17 – 164 that publicly opposes any additional industrial Wind Development in Somerset County. The agenda for the meeting can be found here. The full resolution, as adopted, is provided below and can be accessed at the links on this page.
Residents said they feared the 500-foot tall turbines would adversely affect the aviation tradition on the lake, culminating every fall with the Greenville Fly-in. “There’s a lot at stake,” McDonald told the group. “The view and the wilderness experience. There’s a future at stake if you want to develop tourism in the area, the turbines pose a serious threat to the region.”
Massachusetts on Friday issued a massive request for clean power proposals that could help the state meet its goal of reducing its electrical system’s impact on global warming. By 2020, the state aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation to 25 percent below 1990 levels. The long-expected solicitation has wind opponents in Maine again gearing up for a fight, as Maine is host to the vast majority of pending land-based wind power projects in New England.
A total of 39 Unorganized Territory communities from western Maine to Down East have taken back the ability to nix wind power projects they don’t like. ...Backlash against the loss of zoning review by the Land Use Planning Commission prompted a 2015 law allowing communities to restore that regional authority over wind projects.
Maine people would never allow a massive wind turbine experiment to be placed two miles from the top of Mount Katahdin or just off the shores of Acadia National Park. These are special, almost sacred places. So is Monhegan, which is why this experiment must be moved.
As committee President John Willard, owner of the Birches Resort in Rockwood, has said, if industrial wind development prevails unencumbered, the turbines sitting atop our blasted and bulldozed mountains will turn America’s Crown Jewel into nothing more than a “crown of thorns.”
Maine’s quest to become a leader in wind power – producing enough megawatts to light up more than a million homes – has gotten pushback from rural residents who say they want a greater voice in proposals that now bypass them and go directly to the state for review.
“We felt it was important to get it out there and let everyone know that there could be some serious problems if SunEdison goes bankrupt,” Richard McDonald, a member of the steering committee for the Moosehead Region Futures Committee, said Thursday. ...Withdrawing from the zone isn’t a guarantee that a wind project won’t or can’t be built, but it makes it more difficult to get them approved, said McDonald.
No, thanks, was the overwhelming answer voiced by residents attending a pitch by an energy company to install between 12 and 25 wind turbines along a ridge on the western side of town.
Tension between the merits of wind power and its visual impacts is a familiar theme in rural Maine, but recent interest by two energy companies to test the potential for wind farms in the Moosehead Lake region has put a sharper edge on the debate here. That’s because Moosehead, a historic outdoor recreation mecca that has seen better days economically, is in the midst of a makeover.
In this nine-minute video, winner of the 2015 Yale Environment 360 Video Contest, videographer Roger Smith presents the viewpoints of the local proponents and opponents of the $100 million project.
So here we are, a town divided, petitions ignored, selectmen pushing on with their plans for industrial development in our rural scenic areas. What got us here is poor leadership. On a board with combined terms of service measured in decades, not one of our selectmen has bothered to familiarize themselves with the assets of the town or the will of the people as outlined in the comprehensive plan. No wonder we are in such a mess.
With the Maine Wind Energy Act’s passage, Mainers in parts of the Unorganized Territory lost their right to participate in planning and zoning decisions related to wind power siting in their communities.
Are they [wind turbines] a national model for community-based, renewable energy development? Or are the towers on Vinalhaven an emblem of wind energy’s shortcomings? Is this a cautionary tale of how turbine noise from a project built too close to homes continues to tear apart a community’s tranquility?
This paper by Alun Evans, Professor Emeritus Belfast University provides an easy to read synopsis of our current understanding of wind turbine noise and its impact on human health. An excerpt of the paper is provided below. The full paper can be accessed by clicking the link(s) on this page.
LD 1750 gives a blank check to foreign and out-of-state industrial wind companies to build thousands of huge turbine towers across the middle and top half of Maine with limited environmental review. Southern Maine voters don’t want wind turbines there, so the Legislature is effectively arranging for hundreds of towers to be built in northern and central Maine where, under current law, residents won’t even get the chance to decide if they want these huge industrial zones or not.
The survey asks people to rate their level of support for the project based on their current knowledge. On a scale of 1 to 5, with “1” the least supportive, 63 percent checked “1.” Fifteen percent went with “2”; 5 percent rated their level of support a “3”; 8 percent, a “4”; and 9 percent checked “5,” the most supportive option regarding the project Maine Aqua Ventus is pursuing.
Brighton Plantation was approached by First Wind about a potential site for the project, but the town has a zoning ordinance that doesn’t allow for commercial and industrial development. "he project is right across our border and some of us are concerned that with it being so close to our town borders and us being a small town whether they will be respecting our borders.”
Horton’s 12-page decision states the town ordinance requires pre-construction contour maps, which were waived by the planning board, and the maps are needed to determine other sound factors within the plan. “Pisgah’s admitted failure to submit any such maps means that its application should not have been approved,” the judge wrote.
Peace and tranquility that Gosselin says he no longer has ever since 28 wind turbines were placed on top of Mars Hill mountain in 2007. “It sounds like a loud airplane overhead never leaving for it’s destination,” Gosselin said.