Roxbury Wind Project Seen As 'Eyesore' For Hikers

BRUCE FARRIN, RUMFORD FALLS TIMES  

ROXBURY — A proposal to build four wind turbines nearly 500 feet tall on North Twin Mountain in Roxbury drew opposition from conservationists and others at a public hearing Monday evening at the Town Office.

Nearly half of the 25 people attending testified, many of them having ties to Mahoosuc Land Trust in Bethel. The organization, which has more than 1,000 members, is dedicated to protecting the natural and cultural treasures in the Mahoosuc Mountain Range.

Area residents’ primary concern was that Roxwind LLC’s towers would be only 2.4 miles from Whitecap Mountain, a popular hiking spot in Rumford, and spoil the 360-degree view from the summit.

The 492-foot turbines would be about 83 feet taller than those on Record Hill in Roxbury and about 1 mile closer to Whitecap Mountain.

Bob Iles of Bethel, a member of the Mahoosuc Land Trust, said the state invested $243,000 from Land for Maine’s Future funds toward the original $750,000 purchase of Whitecap to preserve its views and the enjoyable hiking experience for the public.

“We’re passionate, not only about the mountain, which people have hiked for over a hundred years, but also about the 360-degree panoramic view from the summit.”

“We spent two years, raising over $500,000 in grants and donations from over 450 people,” he said. “These people contributed because they also liked hiking Whitecap. They loved the view they got when they reached the top.”

He displayed a notebook containing all the hiker sign-in sheets for the past 10 years on Whitecap, noting hikers came not just from all over Maine, but from more than two-thirds of the country and four foreign countries.

He said the small project, with the taller towers, will close the visual gap between Record Hill and the Spruce Mountain wind turbines, the latter in Woodstock.

“I ask you to seriously consider the significant scenic value of Whitecap and to reject this project,” Iles said.

Maine Ski Hall of Fame member Leon Akers, 83, of Andover, also a member of Mahossuc Land Trust, said he’s been going to Whitecap since he was 3 or 4 years old. He said Roxwind’s project “would be an eyesore to anybody that goes up on Whitecap. There’s a 360-degree view up there. I’m opposed to this project because it’s really not a good place for it.”

Another opponent of the 15.4 megawatt project, Jon Starr of Rumford, said he’s been to just about every 3,000-foot peak in Maine and New Hampshire, and there are very few peaks that compare to Whitecap.

Marcel Pollock of Woodstock said, “There’s no other mountain that’s so easy to hike up to that has the kind of view that Rumford Whitecap has. … .But towers that are 2.4 miles away and of that height would really trash the view … The cost here really outweighs the benefits,” he said.

Kirk G. Siegel, executive director with Mahoosuc Land Trust, said the closest Record Hill tower, visible from Whitecap, is 4.6 miles away, and the towers on Spruce Mountain, visible from Whitecap, are more than 8 miles away.

He said the Department of Environmental Protection’s consultant who reviewed Roxwind’s proposal concluded that the application did not adequately consider the visual effects of land clearing and grading, as seen from Whitecap.

An independent study prepared for the DEP by LandWorks also questions whether the proposed towers would detract from the scenic value and the enjoyment of the thousands of people who hike Whitecap.

Roxwind LLC has submitted a permit application to the DEP. The project would include access roads plus overhead and underground collection lines.

A public hearing on whether the project meets statutory and regulatory licensing requirements was held Monday afternoon to take testimony from the applicant and intervenors.

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Comment by Long Islander on January 11, 2019 at 6:56pm
Comment by Thinklike A. Mountain on January 10, 2019 at 1:54pm

DEP staff not making site visits and expecting to be able to make informed scenic impact decisions is like sitting on the couch watching exercise videos expecting one's muscles to get in shape as a result.

Comment by Gary Campbell on January 10, 2019 at 12:38pm

re: Terry DeWen's comment, it's a pity that DeWen, Landworks and Jim Palmer are the only three firms prequalified by DEP for evaluating the scenic impact of wind projects. The latter two are from VT. Add to this the restrictions imposed by our conflict of interest law and you'll see these three firms rotating between representing the wind developer and being retained by DEP. Usually it's Jim Palmer who is retained by DEP while DeWen and Landworks take turns representing the developers. Of course DeWen and Landworks always argue that every project's scenic impact is 'not unreasonable'.

Comment by Brad Blake on January 10, 2019 at 12:05pm

As reported, there were some passionate defenses of the Rumford Whitecap Preserve.  Nobody really described in good measure the significance of the viewsheds.  Since DEP staff do not make site visits, they needed to have the picture verbally "painted" for them.  The view to the south is Grafton Notch and beyond that Mt. Washington.  The view to the west, the Mahoosuc Range, specifically East & West Baldpate.  The view to the east, one of the most beautiful valley views in the state as the Androscoggine River winds its way between the Oxford Hills and the Mahoosuc Range.  The north view, already severely impacted by the Record Hill Wind site, is to the High Peaks Region of Maine near Sugarloaf.  Sadly, the RoxWind project places its closer and taller turbines right in the view from Rumford Whitecap to ruggedly beautiful Tumbledown Mt. 
Clearly, the applicant's scenic expert, Terence DeWan dutifully downplayed the negative scenic impact.  When pressed by FMM's lawyer, he admitted that only once in his lengthy string of visual assessments for wind projects had they ever criticized a wind project for negative visual impact.  Completely biased!
Sadly, if the DEP staff were to actually do its mission of protecting the documented natural and scenic resources of the state, the project would be denied based solely on this one document, but it will be dismissed, just as the assumption that Rumford Whitecap Preserve, brought into being with taxpayer funds as well as generous donations, is not a Scenic Resource of State or National Significance.  Read this document and weep.  
https://www.maine.gov/dacf/mnap/focusarea/whitecap_mountain_rumford...

Comment by Marie Jane on January 10, 2019 at 9:27am

THE TIME HAS COME TO START LEARNING FROM WIND TURBINE REALITY FROM OUR OWN COUNTRY (HAWAII) AND FROM EUROPE FROM DESTRUCTION OF ALL WE HOLD PRECIOUS TO ENERGY POVERTY (BEING EXPERIENCED ACROSS EUROPE BECAUSE OF THEIR RENEWABLE MANDATES).  THE TIME HAS COME FOR THE WIND INDUSTRY TO FOLD UP ITS TENT .. THIS IS THE COMMENT THAT ACCOMPANIED THE LINK BELOW:  "Seen in Hawaii, rusting turbine hulks, near-extinct wildlife: "technology supposed to save the environment is ruining it." 

Trip to Hawaii reveals rusting wind turbines https://twitter.com/share?text=Trip%20to%20Hawaii%20reveals%20rusti...

Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"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."

https://pinetreewatch.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/

 

Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power

 

Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT

******** IF LINKS BELOW DON'T WORK, GOOGLE THEM*********

(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 https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/From 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?" https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/From 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.” https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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