This morning the Maine Supreme Judicial Court issued its decision denying Champlain Wind LLC's appeal concerning a permit for its Bowers Wind Project in Carroll Plt and Kossuth Twp. Champlain Wind is a subsidiary of Maine's largest wind developer, First Wind. The decision marks the end of a six year process of hearings and appeals which pitted the wind developer against local residents, professional guides, traditional sporting camp owners and loyal visitors to Maine's famed Downeast Lakes Region. Spearheading the opposition was the Partnership for the Preservation of the Downeast Lakes Watershed (PPDLW).
The Court upheld the Board of Environmental Protection's (BEP's) conclusion that the project's sixteen turbines would have "an unreasonable adverse effect on the scenic character and existing uses related to the scenic character” of nine of the lakes which the State recognizes as "Scenic Resources of State or National Significance". The affected lakes include West Grand, Junior, Scraggly, Shaw, Pleasant, Bottle, Keg, Sysladobsis and Pug Lakes.
Gary Campbell, President of PPDLW said "We are very excited and relieved to receive this decision. Making our case required the sustained efforts of hundreds of individuals, groups and businesses. This victory is a testament to all their hard work. Ever since the Wind Law was passed as emergency legislation in 2008, citizens have been struggling to protect Maine's greatest natural assets from industrial wind development. The Court even noted in its decision that the purpose of the Wind Law was to minimize or eliminate opposition to wind projects based on their visual impact. This makes industrial wind project virtually impossible to stop. In fact, Bowers is the first wind project to be defeated under the Wind Law. PPDLW is not anti-renewables, not even anti-wind, but the Bowers project was so poorly sited we could not allow it to be built. Wind has its place, but Bowers is not it!"
It's time to get the Governor and legislature to revisit the Wind Law. While the law has remained the same, turbines have grown to 550' in height and the most appropriate sites have been built. Left unchecked, as they are under the current Wind Law, wind developers will destroy evermore sensitive areas with taller and noisier turbines.
The Court's decision is available at: www.courts.maine.gov/opinions_orders/supreme/lawcourt/2015/15me156c...