FMM attacks Maine Audubon on ties to industrial wind and flawed report

For Immediate Release

Friends of Maine's Mountains calls on Maine Audubon to disclose its financial ties to industrial wind and retract its new report that fails to protect Maine's wildlife.

December 12, 2013 Portland, Maine - Friends of Maine's Mountains (FMM), is calling upon the Maine Audubon (MAS) to retract the findings of their recently published report attempting to validate the compatibility of wind power and Maine's wildlife populations and their habitats.

FMM recognizes that the MAS has always held itself to a high standard and has been at the forefront of wildlife advocacy in Maine, but this report clearly falls short of that tradition and is troubling in it's implications for Maine's environment.

According to FMM, the report,Wind Power & Wildlife in Maine, is deficient in the necessary scientific rigor required to come to the conclusion that industrial wind turbines are not detrimental to Maine's wildlife and their habitats. Specifically, the report's turbine siting criteria are one-sided and clearly favor the wind developers.

FMM encourages MAS to reconcile the large sums of corporate funding they receive annually from the wind industry and to disclose if those donors had any influence on their findings.

At the December 4th presentation in Falmouth, MAS disclosed that the report did not rely on field work or empirical data to determine mortality rates of birds and bats from turbine collisions. Surprisingly, they did not include any evaluation of mortality rates for migratory birds.

FMM sees these deficiencies as major red flags that clearly undermine the validity and conclusions of the report. Moreover, nowhere in the MAS report is there a quantification of presumed benefits from wind power. No valid impact/benefit analysis can occur without quantification.

Rand Stowell, FMM Founder and Chairman said The MAS report is troubling and should be withdrawn and re-evaluated. The MAS has an ethical and moral obligation to their members, the people of Maine, and the wildlife they were founded to protect. The conclusions presented to the public in this report are not in keeping with that mandate. MAS needs to rethink its position, open it up to a higher standard of scientific review, and get it right.”

Dr. Rebecca Holberton, Professor of Biology and Ecology at UMaine/Orono and an extensively published researcher in the field of bird migration for over a quarter of a century, agrees with FMM's position on this report. “FMM's concerns are at the heart of the weaknesses of the MAS report. The report is not a report of actual findings but is a hypothetical model or hypothesis that would need to be tested and confirmed empirically before anyone could accept its validity. It is troubling that, although the report is replete with disclaimers and acknowledged weakness by the authors themselves regarding the types of information that went into the work and the limitations of any conclusions stemming from it, it has been confidently presented to the public as a tool that would reliably serve as guidelines for siting land-based wind energy development. I’m not aware that during any stage of the project’s development that any effort was made by MAS to bring in biologists from academia, as well as state and federal wildlife agencies for input. More.............

Friends of Maine's Mountains – Pg. 2

The leadership of MAS is well-aware of the extensive research in the region on bird and bat migration, having recently hosted an extensive public talk on the topic by me and my colleagues just a few months ago. There is nothing in this document that addresses collision risk taking into account new studies that show that wind energy development may be having a greater impact on birds than previously thought and that higher turbines result in greater collisions. Further, although the main approach in the MAS model focuses solely on habitat characteristics on the ground, there are no studies showing that on the ground habitat characteristics have anything to do with the spatial densities of birds aloft during migration. Regardless of the motivation behind MAS’s decision to produce these purported guidelines without seeking knowledgeable resources for input and comment, some may consider it, at best, a catalyst for improving how we approach spatial mapping of wildlife risk, and at worst, a poorly-developed model to be misused by those looking for an open endorsement for wind energy development in the state without being made to consider the true viability of alternative energy sources. How we balance the different ways we impact the environment should be based on factual information, which, when used properly, should lead all folks with different perspectives to the same conclusions. The MAS report fails miserably in that regard.”

FMM contends that through a proper investigation, the effects of wildlife degradation caused by wind turbines could be determined. Michael Bond, a member of FMM's Board of Directors and a nationally recognized author on environmental issues adds, The wind industry in Maine is being given a free pass. MAS needs to reevaluate their association with industrial wind and work with the experts in the field to provide us with an unbiased picture of the impact of industrial wind on our environment.”

FMM also sees the report as an attempt to gloss over what many believe is the untold story of wind power in Maine. Richard McDonald, another FMM Board member is concerned that, “The ratepayers are also an endangered species. The impact of wind power on our pocketbooks should make us all question its value. Wind hasn't reduced our energy costs and it hasn't replaced a single fossil fuel powered generation plant. In fact, Maine already produces 40% of its power from renewables which exceeds the the goal set by former Governor Baldacci's 2008 Task Force on Wind. So why is MAS so willing to go along with the wind industry?

In addition, Mainers need to know if the MAS agrees with the National Audubon Society's (NAS) emphatic challenge to the recently released U.S. Department of the Interior's proposed rule change. The proposed change would give wind energy developers a 30 year exemption from criminal prosecution for killing Bald Eagles and other migratory birds at their wind farms.

NAS President and CEO David Yarnald offered the following response to Interior's new rule: “Instead of balancing the need for conservation and renewable energy, Interior wrote the wind industry a blank check. It's outrageous that the government is sanctioning the killing of America's symbol, the Bald Eagle.”

FMM is asking MAS if it is prepared to lend its voice to this call, withdraw its report and take a stand against any further damage to Maine's wildlife by industrial wind.


Please direct all requests for additional information to Chris O'Neil at 207-590-3842.

Dr. Rebecca Holberton can be reached at 207- 669-2842.

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Friends of Maine's Mountains – Pg. 3

Friends of Maine's Mountains is a 501c3, nonprofit research and educational organizational whose mission is to research, formulate and promote effective and reliable energy and power solutions that will protect Maine's natural resources (especially Maine's mountains), as well as Maine's industries and private property owners, while also ensuring that those solutions have a positive environmental and economic impact for Maine people and businesses.

Friends of Maine's Mountains - P. O. Box 60 - Weld, ME 04285

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Comment by Eric A. Tuttle on December 18, 2016 at 12:43pm

"Ole Amundsen III said his resignation was a “very difficult” decision based on quality of life. He’s been making a 2½-hour round trip daily from his home in Waterville on Interstate 95 and an increasingly congested Interstate 295 – a commute that contributed to a very busy year professionally and personally."

I am not sure if this person gets paid, compensated in other ways, or if the gaft ran out, but,,,,, My first year at Edwards Systems Technology, later GE then United Technologies, came down to a job which paid some insurance and food for the table. Traveling and allowing for bad weather or other unexpected problems to ensure being there every day and on time, my travel was 2 hours each way. (4 hours per day (80 miles RT)). The insurance was nothing, so Cobra was my only option resulting in a $7 per week paycheck after Gas for travel and Insurance of nearly $1000 per month.

It was a year to the day, before I took home a meaningful paycheck, though still underpaid considering I had replaced 3 workers with my ability to provide a higher output. Luckily I had taken my mothers advice and planned ahead for such a time. 

So I feel SORRY "NOT" for this person if he expected greater financial rewards. A possible reason for the resignation ?


Comment by Jim Wiegand on December 18, 2016 at 12:12pm

Audubon cannot reveal anything truthful because of Gag orders/non-disclosure agreements tied to financial arrangements with wind interests. The truth is that Audubon leaders are sell out scum, which means they should never be quoted in the media.

Comment by Long Islander on December 18, 2016 at 10:52am

Maine Audubon exec resigns after less than a year on the job

Ole Amundsen III said his resignation was a “very difficult” decision based on quality of life. He’s been making a 2½-hour round trip daily from his home in Waterville on Interstate 95 and an increasingly congested Interstate 295 – a commute that contributed to a very busy year professionally and personally.

Waterville and Maine Audubon headquarters in Falmouth are about 70 miles apart via I-95 and 295, meaning the above mentioned driving would appear to represent a weekly commute of 700 miles, assuming five days of commutation per week. While Maine Audubon advocates placement of thousands of industrial wind turbines throughout Maine's countryside to combat CO2 emissions, it can be noted that a full 50%  of CO2 emissions in Maine derive from driving whereas only 10.81% derive from electricity production. 

Read more:

Comment by Barbara Durkin on March 13, 2015 at 9:05am

Follow the money. 

Why would Mass Audubon "support" Cape Wind when MAS staff scientists arrived at up to 6,600 avian mortalities per year by Cape Wind.  This is the equivalent of up to 6,600 violations of strict liability criminal statutes protecting the birds of Nantucket Sound that MAS endorses.  See (page 9.)  This testimony can no longer be found on the MAS Website-

Mass Audubon comments on Cape Wind DEIS on February 23, 2005 to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District -- Reference File No. NAE-2004-338-1, EOEA No. 12643:


"By utilizing other bird mortality data provided in the DEIS, Mass Audubon staff scientists arrived at avian mortalities that ranged from 2,300 to 6,600 collision deaths per year."

Mass Audubon uses contract language and offers their "support" position of Cape Wind during permit review provided that there is a Cape Wind Adaptive Management Monitoring and Mitigation contract "funded by Cape Wind".  While Mass Audubon was involved in the Cape Wind permit review process, they failed to remain objective...for a reason.   

Published: March 28, 2006

A Cape Wind Challenge To Get It Right 

by Taber Allison and Jack Clarke


"MASS AUDUBON CHALLENGES the developer of Cape Wind and its permitting agencies to accept comprehensive and rigorous monitoring and mitigation conditions that will reduce the risk to birds and other wildlife. If these conditions are adopted, and remaining data gaps are addressed, Mass Audubon will support Cape Wind, the largest, clean, renewable-energy project in the Northeast..."

"...Monitoring and mitigation should be funded by Cape Wind with contributions from independent institutions and government agencies as appropriate."  

Mass Audubon will "implement" Adaptive Management estimated by Altamont parties to have a value of $3 million "start-up", and $1 million per year continuing at least three years post- construction per Mass Audubon's terms as a Cape Wind permit reviewing entity. 

MA Audubon Announces their intent to implement Adaptive Management for the Cape Wind Project "funded by Cape Wind". 

Mass Audubon "What's New? June 25, 2010 press release, excerpt:


"Next Steps for Mass Audubon participation
Mass Audubon will continue to analyze and report on Cape Wind through:

1. MMS’ OCS lease arrangement;
2. ACOE Section 10 permit issued under the US Rivers and Harbors Act;
3. EMS adaptive management plan; and
4. Avian monitoring and mitigation plan implementation during the construction and three year post-construction phases of the project."

Maybe Maine Audubon is just as interested in counting carcasses as Mass Audubon is.  While the federal regulator, USFWS, informed that the technology to count carcasses over water, Nantucket Sound, simply does not exist.

Comment by Donald Moore on March 12, 2015 at 11:37pm
Note, this article is dated 12/12/13 and FMM board members quoted are no longer on the FMM board.
Comment by Brad Blake on December 13, 2013 at 12:13am

Thank you for posting this.


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


(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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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."

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