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Conservation groups oppose proposed western Maine wind farm

PORTLAND, Maine --Maine's Land Use Regulation Commission on Wednesday granted intervenor status to 13 organizations opposed to a planned 90-megawatt wind farm in western Maine. Four of the groups issued a statement saying they recognize a need for wind power in the Northeast, but that the proposed location four miles west of the Sugarloaf USA ski resort is inappropriate for wind turbines. Those organizations are Maine Audubon, Appalachian Mountain Club, Appalachian Trail Conservancy and Maine Appalachian Trail Club.

As intervenors, the groups will be able to call witnesses and present their own cases during LURC hearings on the proposal this summer, said Jody Jones, Maine Audubon wildlife ecologist.

The proposal by Maine Mountain Power to build 30 wind turbines atop Black Nubble and Redington Pond Range mountains poses threats to rare species of plants and animals, the groups said. The project also would diminish the scenic quality and the backcountry experience in the region, they added.

"Wind power and habitat protection are not at odds: Maine can have both and Maine Audubon wants to help Maine have both," Jones said. "But there are a handful of areas where wind power should not be located, and the Redington Pond Range is one of them."

The developer of the project said he has undertaken many biological studies that show the wind farm would have a minimal ecological impact.

The $150-million project would remove 800,000 pounds of pollutants a day, the equivalent of taking 26,000 cars off the road, said Harley Lee, president of Endless Energy Corp. of Yarmouth, which is working with California-based Edison Mission Group on the project.

"Not putting up... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
As intervenors, the groups will be able to call witnesses and present their own cases during LURC hearings on the proposal this summer, said Jody Jones, Maine Audubon wildlife ecologist.

The proposal by Maine Mountain Power to build 30 wind turbines atop Black Nubble and Redington Pond Range mountains poses threats to rare species of plants and animals, the groups said. The project also would diminish the scenic quality and the backcountry experience in the region, they added.

"Wind power and habitat protection are not at odds: Maine can have both and Maine Audubon wants to help Maine have both," Jones said. "But there are a handful of areas where wind power should not be located, and the Redington Pond Range is one of them."

The developer of the project said he has undertaken many biological studies that show the wind farm would have a minimal ecological impact.

The $150-million project would remove 800,000 pounds of pollutants a day, the equivalent of taking 26,000 cars off the road, said Harley Lee, president of Endless Energy Corp. of Yarmouth, which is working with California-based Edison Mission Group on the project.

"Not putting up the wind farm has a far greater impact than putting up the wind farm," he said.

The wind farm would produce enough power for about 40,000 average households in Maine, Lee said. The turbines would be placed on 260-foot tall towers; each turbine would have three 150-foot blades.

For the project to be built, the area needs rezoning approval from LURC.

The commission granted intervenor status to the 13 organizations at its monthly meeting Wednesday in Dover-Foxcroft, said LURC Director Catherine Carroll.

The commission also voted unanimously to accept its staff recommendation in rejecting a proposal to rezone 246 acres on Burnt Jacket Mountain in the town of Beaver Cove on Moosehead Lake that was needed for a 70-lot subdivision.

The Natural Resources Council of Maine said the Burnt Jacket vote might serve as an indicator on how things might proceed during deliberations on Plum Creek Timber Co.'s proposal for a massive subdivision proposal around Moosehead Lake.

The resources council, as well as other environmental groups, opposes Plum Creek's plan to develop nearly 1,000 house site and several resorts over 10,000 acres.


Source: http://www.boston.com/news/...

JUN 8 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/2966-conservation-groups-oppose-proposed-western-maine-wind-farm
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