While all eyes are on the proposed CMP power corridor in western Maine, a potential environmental and economic catastrophe is unfolding Downeast, in the form of the proposed Apex wind farm in Columbia. The 22,000-acre tower array would be situated directly in the heart of western Washington County, with 30 structures rivaling the widely visible Cutler radio towers in overall height (taking into account site elevation), but over a much broader expanse and with moving parts added to the equation. These will be visible for dozens of miles in all directions, not just from high elevations, but from highly traveled Route 1, from Harrington to Machias. The very character of the Downeast region stands to be completely altered for generations, all for the financial benefit of a handful of people (most of whom don’t even live here) and one small municipality.
Make no mistake, this is just another example of an extractive industry taking advantage of an economically depressed region for its own gain. It’s no different than coal mining, drilling for oil or shale fracking. Multinational corporations stand to reap billions of dollars at the expense of the local economy and environment. Presumably, we won’t be satisfied until we’ve developed every inch of land in our mindless pursuit of more energy to sustain the unsustainable. We’re stealing from our grandchildren to feed our children.
There is no small irony in the fact that under our current “environmentally friendly” Governor Mills, Maine will be saddled with not only the one large eyesore in the form of the CMP corridor, but many hundreds of smaller ones in the form of onshore wind farms, all in a state where the predominant driver of the economy is our scenic beauty. To quote Governor Mills, “This is Maine!” That begs the question, “Then why can’t we do better than this?”