Library filed under General from Maine
Does a new land use ordinance that has halted three landowners' efforts to have a wind energy company construct several turbines atop Mount Waldo break state and federal laws?
Readers of the story were essentially led to believe that these massive projects have come without incident. Unwitting readers might also infer that these new wind "farms" have disproved their critics, settled all debate and gained acceptance. The truth is that many people in the vicinity of the Roxbury and Woodstock wind projects are already experiencing problems with noise emissions.
"We deny approval of the ‘proposed Transactions' as we find that the risk of harm to ratepayers exceeds the benefits," the draft decision reads, "even if conditions intended to mitigate the risk of harm to ratepayers were imposed."
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection's approval is the project's final state regulatory hurdle, though a local group opposing the project is expected to file a civil court appeal. The project still needs a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit.
Gov. Paul LePage has come out strongly against the proposal, both in a recent weekly radio address and at public events. "The way I look at it is this proposal, this whole referendum issue is nothing more than a scam to make a few people wealthy. I think it is shameful and it's immoral that some of these folks would come and put this kind of price tag on Maine people."
The town Wind Ordinance Committee learned about balancing the good with the bad on wind energy developments at Wednesday night's meeting.
Despite initial optimism that Casco Bay would be a good location for wind power, a city waterfront project has produced less energy than expected and a project on Peaks Island has been abandoned because there isn't enough wind.
Western Maine Realty is "a real estate entity that Jay owns for investing in properties. He'll have to evaluate all the possible uses for that property," said Presson, who helped develop the Beaver Ridge Wind project in Freedom. "I don't think he's ruling anything out at this point."
Residents on Monday evening voted to forge a tax increment financing agreement with a First Wind subsidiary on a new $300 million industrial wind project.
The group filed an appeal with the Maine Bureau of Environmental Protection last week opposing Patriot Renewables LLC's wind project in Carthage. The Quincy, Mass., firm doing business as Saddleback Ridge Wind LLC, has proposed construction of a $65 million, 32-megawatt project for the Carthage site. The project calls for 12 turbines to be built on Saddleback Ridge.
Kearns would not comment on whether the withdrawal was being sought to forestall a commission rejection or what that would mean to the project. Carroll did not immediately return messages seeking comment on Wednesday.
Last month the Clifton planning board gave the final okay to a $22 million project to install five turbines on Pisguh Mountain. The head of the planning board says the Beckfords are concerned about noise from the turbines, which would be about a mile from their home.
Yet Peter and Julie Beckford say the noise from the turbines would be easily heard on their nearby farm where they grow perennial flowers. The couple has now filed an appeal with the town to revoke the project's permit.
Selectmen this week postponed taking action on a request to dismiss a member of the Industrial Wind Ordinance Committee until they get legal advice.
Residents here voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to approve a wind power ordinance that likely means the Hancock County town will be off-limits to commercial wind energy facilities.
Third time's a charm proved true Tuesday when a majority of voters overwhelmingly approved the third proposed wind ordinance in two years. The tally was 1,137 "yes" to 465 "no," Town Manager Carlo Puiia said. Fifty ballots were blank, meaning those voters didn't select either answer.
A Wind Turbine Ordinance is proposed to limit wind turbines to a maximum of 80 feet tall. Wind turbines that meet the height requirement will be required to meet sound limits at the property lines. These limits will not support large commercial wind turbine installations.
Carrie Bennett of Freedom said she hopes the townspeople of Frankfort will make a different decision than the people of her town did. She said she lives about 3,000 feet away from one of the turbines in her community. "All three of my children have been placed on sleeping pills by their pediatrician," she said, referring to the turbine noise keeping them awake at night. "What you get back as a community is not worth what you pay."
"The passage of the moratorium will give the committee 180 days to write an ordinance and no windmills can be built during this time. The Board of Selectmen can extend the moratorium if more time is needed to write the ordinance," he said.
"Some people are of the mindset that a 'No' vote means a vote against wind towers and a 'Yes' vote is a vote to allow wind towers," he said. Instead, he said a Yes vote to approve the ordinance will allow local regulation on wind towers. "A 'No' vote is a vote to allow state regulation on wind towers," Puiia said of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection wind project laws.