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Too many questions are blowing about wind

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.

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.

Windmills all across the country are proposed as "clean energy" and "one small step in freeing ourselves from foreign oil." On the surface, no one should disagree with this comment. Digging deeper, though, there are issues that cause great concern.

There are laws in the U.S. that allow older, outdated, major polluters to purchase Green Energy Credits, so they can legally discharge more emissions than their environmental license allows. How much of power generated from windmills is planned to be sold to these major polluters? (My biggest... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

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.

Windmills all across the country are proposed as "clean energy" and "one small step in freeing ourselves from foreign oil." On the surface, no one should disagree with this comment. Digging deeper, though, there are issues that cause great concern.

There are laws in the U.S. that allow older, outdated, major polluters to purchase Green Energy Credits, so they can legally discharge more emissions than their environmental license allows. How much of power generated from windmills is planned to be sold to these major polluters? (My biggest concern are plants in the Ohio River Valley.)

I ask this question because it would be ironic to ask Mainers to give up the mountaintops for clean energy, only to have additional acid rain fall on our lakes and rivers whenever we get wind from the southwest.

As is well known, Byron residents March 10 voted down an ordinance change, which put Byron's section of a wind power project in question. Part of the reason was because of an honest and emotional speech by a lady named Wendy Todd, who lives in Mars Hill and came to Byron to tell her story.

She talked about how turbines changed the lifestyles that the locals were so familiar with. Most of her concern centered on noise these windmills make. Now, there are substantial differences between the Mars Hill project and the Byron project, but what happens if the sincere promises do not live up to expectations?

Most land owners in Byron have worked hard, and most of what we own is invested in our property. Many of us still have sizable mortgages on our properties. If windmills depreciate property values, should we bear this burden?

What happens if the engineers are wrong? Nobody wants to leave their property. We have years of blood, sweat and tears here. Yes, we may seem stubborn to someone not from this area. But what we need are options so we do not suffer because of someone else's profit.

One possibility is a guarantee that developers would purchase our property at today's "fair market value" if values decreased because of this new addition in town. A corporation flooded two towns in Franklin County in the 1950s and bought the property because people could no longer live there.

You can see what is left of those towns in a couple of museums around Eustis.

Promises from these wind projects also include lowering property taxes. I have discussed this with the Bryon project developers, Independence Wind. Nobody can accurately project, five or 10 years from now, what this project will do to the town's taxes. Our legislators change the laws every year.

Are any wind companies willing to put it in writing that if any of these projects could become tax-exempt because of being "clean energy," they will decline? The wind farm in Kibby Township was just before Franklin County for a tax break. Do the people of Maine realize who helps to subsidize such tax breaks?

And I'm told out west, there are states with hundreds of windmills. Do these states pay less for a tank of oil or gasoline? Are windmills helping keep their energy costs down?

Once these issues are addressed by wind power developers, lawyers and government, I can say we have done everything we could for our kids and the lifestyle we are accustomed to having here in Maine.

But what this state and country really needs are politicians with courage to develop an energy policy that works.

Steve Duguay of Byron served 25 years on the town's Board of Selectmen.


Source: http://www.sunjournal.com/s...

APR 13 2008
https://www.windaction.org/posts/14398-too-many-questions-are-blowing-about-wind
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