BDN photo by Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN
LINCOLN, Maine — The state’s largest wind developer could face defeat for the first time in Maine with LURC’s decision Friday to deny a request to withdraw a proposed wind project on Bowers Mountain.
The Land Use Regulation Commission voted 5-0 at the Waterfront Event Center to reject First Wind subsidiary Champlain Wind’s request to withdraw its proposal to build a 27-turbine wind farm in a rural, sparsely populated area east of Springfield on the Penobscot and Washington county line. Commissioner Robert Dunphy abstained.
The vote leaves the commission free to act on an October staff recommendation to reject the project at a special meeting or at its next scheduled meeting on May 4, LURC staff director Samantha Horn Olsen said. She doubted that Champlain Wind could change the project enough by then to satisfy LURC’s requirements.
First Wind officials said they plan to submit a scaled-down proposal to build on Bowers Mountain later this year, but that didn’t stop project opponents from calling Friday’s decision a significant advance.
The opponents, who had objected to what they believed would be the Bowers Mountain project’s adverse visual impact on at least eight lakes and ponds within eight miles of the site — some considered “outstanding” natural resources by the state — were elated with LURC’s action.
“This shows the world that First Wind is not unstoppable,” said David Corrigan, a registered Maine Master Guide from Concord Township who opposed the project. “This shows that if they come forward with a bad project they can be denied. As far as I know, that has never happened before to this company.”
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