Town supervisor: 'I can’t be bought by Avangrid. I heard the majority.'

Former Governor John Baldacci is of course vice chair of Avangrid, although the media in Maine refuse to report on this.

Town Supervisor Susan Wood says she can’t be bought and questions tactics used by wind developer Avangrid in its attempt to build a 27-turbine wind farm in her town.

Wood was responding to claims in the Sound Off “Misleading Supervisor” which appeared in the June 6-12 edition of North Country This Week that she has been misleading and is making Hopkinton the laughing stock of St. Lawrence County.
In a letter to North Country This Week Wood says, “this person states that the town deserves ethical leadership and how I am making Hopkinton a laughing stock of St. Lawrence County. I am assuming that this person is the same one who feels it is ethical for a board member to vote on wind related issues although there is a clear conflict of interest due to his father holding a lease valued by Avangrid in October 2017 to be worth between $100,000-$250,000. This could also be the same person that stated at the March 2017 board meeting ‘…if it comes, it comes. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. You can trust these people; they are going to make the right decision. You gotta trust your board. You gotta trust your wind advisory board.’ I have to think that this person must have his ‘ethics’ confused.”
The supervisor did not have kind words to say about her relationship and professional dealings with Avangrid.
“Avangrid is the one that signed a lease with a board member’s father and did not disclose this until they were questioned on it,” she said in the letter. “Avangrid attempted to sweeten the pot with the offer of contributing 75 percent toward electric bills for full time residents. Avangrid attempted to stop the vote by claiming an illegal meeting and at the same time informed the board they were requesting an increase in height to 600 feet.”
Wood said she has given both sides a fair look and listened to what the majority of residents who reached out to her want.
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Comment by Brad Blake on June 9, 2018 at 9:35am

The media and the regulators refuse to call out public officials on conflict of interest.  When the Rollins Wind project developed by First Wind was gaining approval, the Select Board of Lee approved the siting and TIF for the portion of the project in Lee.  Selectman Kirk Ritchie owned the Springfield Fair and had just made money from First Wind by leasing the fairgrounds as a layout site for wind components for the Stetson Project.  Even worse, then State Representative and Selectman Everett McLeod signed 27 year leases for turbine pad sites to be developed on their land.  Friends of Lincoln Lakes protested this and other conflicts of interest but nobody cared.
This is a prime example of the poorly regulated government ethics in Maine and why the wind industry has had its way so easily.

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Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT (excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.”

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