I have been informed that the DEP is delaying its decision on whether to permit First Wind's proposed 62+ turbine "Bingham Wind" project until early 2014.
I was under the impression that the Maine Wind Energy Act required projects within the Expedited Area to be permitted within 6 months of the application being accepted as complete for processing. That deadline would be at the end of November 2013.
Would this delay be cause to require First Wind to reapply? At least 7 local people wrote to the DEP requesting a formal Public Hearing and Intervenor status, but were denied due to not getting comments in within the 20-day deadline from when the application was accepted as complete for processing (even though there was no notice in local papers.)
I know there are a number of major problems with the proposal, and major pieces of information missing from the application. I think we have a chance to challenge this, though even many opponents of the project are claiming this is a "done deal."
Anyone who believes this does not have to be a done deal, and is interested in circulating petitions (or helping with editing video or website design) and helping organize to support local communities fighting this proposal, please be in touch.
http://eastwestwindway.wordpress.com/ (under construction)
I believe the only way DEP can go beyond the 185 day deadline for decision is with the developer's approval. It's possible that the developer initiated the delay and DEP simply agreed.
From the WEA. See the last sentence. We asked the same question on the Highland project. CITIZENS can't get a time extension when opposing a development, but DEVELOPERS and REGULATORY AGENCIES can extend the time period of the 'expedited' clock.
Sec. B-5. 38 MRSA §344, sub-§2-A, ¶A, (1) The commissioner may not request the board to assume jurisdiction of an application for any permit or other approval required for an expedited wind energy development, as defined in Title 35-A, section 3451, subsection 4, pursuant to the site location of development laws pursuant to chapter 3, subchapter 1, article 6, the Natural Resources Protection Act or storm water management laws or a certification pursuant to Title 35-A, section 3456. Except as provided in subparagraph (2), the commissioner shall issue a decision on an application for an expedited wind energy development within 185 days of the date on which the department accepts the application as complete pursuant to this section or within 270 days of the department's acceptance of the application if the commissioner holds a hearing on the application pursuant to section 345-A, subsection 1-A. (2) The expedited review periods of 185 days and 270 days specified in subparagraph (1) do not apply to the associated facilities, as defined in Title 35-A, section 3451, subsection 1, of the development if the commissioner determines that an expedited review time is unreasonable due to the size, location, potential impacts, multiple agency jurisdiction or complexity of that portion of the development. If an expedited review period does not apply, a review period specified pursuant to section 344-B applies. The commissioner may stop the processing time with the consent of the applicant for a period of time agreeable to the commissioner and the applicant.