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Gold standard for Maine's 'wind rush'

What happened in Roxbury, though contentious, needed to happen. Community-changing projects cannot be built without debate, scrutiny or emotional outburst - it comes with the territory ...What should resonate from Roxbury into the ears of public officials and wind developers across Maine is this: Residents affected by wind projects care deeply about their communities and will fight doggedly to ensure their interests are heard and their demands met.

Roxbury will change with turbines, but it won't worsen. In fact, the determined battle for the $120 million Record Hill project has benefited the community, and others.

The town is now the gold standard for Maine's "wind rush," which has developers screaming across the state to stake claims. Roxbury's principled wind-power opponents earned residents sharp reductions in electricity costs and property taxes from developer Independence Wind.

In doing so, the town raised the bar for others. There shouldn't be a turbine proposal pitched in Maine without including the same terms as Independence Wind's offer to Roxbury.

These silver linings should be the focus, because Thursday's close votes on the Record Hill project in the western Maine hamlet indicate a strong split of opinion, the kind that could cause serious divisions in a small town going forward.

Or as Steve Thurston of Roxbury wrote in an op-ed published on Jan. 4, "(Turbines) pit neighbor against neighbor, tearing the fabric that holds communities together."

This doesn't need to happen.

What happened in Roxbury, though contentious, needed to happen. Community-changing projects cannot be built without debate,... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Roxbury will change with turbines, but it won't worsen. In fact, the determined battle for the $120 million Record Hill project has benefited the community, and others.

The town is now the gold standard for Maine's "wind rush," which has developers screaming across the state to stake claims. Roxbury's principled wind-power opponents earned residents sharp reductions in electricity costs and property taxes from developer Independence Wind.

In doing so, the town raised the bar for others. There shouldn't be a turbine proposal pitched in Maine without including the same terms as Independence Wind's offer to Roxbury.

These silver linings should be the focus, because Thursday's close votes on the Record Hill project in the western Maine hamlet indicate a strong split of opinion, the kind that could cause serious divisions in a small town going forward.

Or as Steve Thurston of Roxbury wrote in an op-ed published on Jan. 4, "(Turbines) pit neighbor against neighbor, tearing the fabric that holds communities together."

This doesn't need to happen.

What happened in Roxbury, though contentious, needed to happen. Community-changing projects cannot be built without debate, scrutiny or emotional outburst - it comes with the territory - but the outcome from this process should be considered universally positive.

Project proponents can toast victory, but not mandate. Former Gov. Angus King and Rob Gardiner must keep their promises to reduce taxes and pay local electric bills. The split vote on Thursday went their way, but it also means they'll be watched closely.

Opponents, though unsuccessful in stopping the project, deserve credit. A small group of landowners and residents bent a major developer to their will, to set a stirring precedent that stands to benefit other towns and cities across Maine.

What should resonate from Roxbury into the ears of public officials and wind developers across Maine is this: Residents affected by wind projects care deeply about their communities and will fight doggedly to ensure their interests are heard and their demands met.

For wind developers, many of whom display distinct social consciences, these sentiments should become topmost priorities. They cannot claim their projects are good for the country if they are not good for their neighbors.

Much good has come from Roxbury. We believe King and Gardiner's altruistic rationales for this project and we respect the convictions of the townspeople who questioned them and earned significant concessions to better their community.

Record Hill was a trailblazing exercise in how communities and wind developers should co-exist, if at all possible. Well, it is possible.

Roxbury and its citizens have shown how.


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

JAN 19 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/18666-gold-standard-for-maine-s-wind-rush
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