DEP FIRST IN MAINE WIND DENIAL APPEALED TO BEP: WAYS YOU CAN HELP

On Thursday, March 21, Commissioners of the Maine Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) will hear the landowner's and developer's appeals of DEP's November 2012 denial of a permit for industrial-scale wind on Passadumkeag Mountain in Grand Falls Plantation, in eastern Penobscot County near the town of Burlington.

If you have time and inclination, Passadumkeag Mountain Friends, the citizens' group challenging the proposed development, welcomes your interest and assistance. What follows is background on the project and reasons we hope BEP will uphold DEP's decision. It's useful if you wish to comment; otherwise, it's probably TMI.

Some background

Quantum Utility Generation, a subsidiary of a Texas-based energy developer, had applied through its own subsidiary, Passadumkeag Windpark LLC, to install 14 Vesta wind turbines, each rising 459 feet, along five miles of the 1400-foot mountain ridge.  Opponents raised a number of concerns, including wildlife habitat fragmentation, fire risk in a remote area, and negative impacts on four nearby lakes designated as having state or national significance.

Ultimately, DEP's denial rested on a single factor: what their staff determined was an "unreasonable" negative impact on the scenic quality of the closest lake, Saponac Pond. This 900-acre great pond lies entirely within an 8-mile boundary surrounding the would-be wind development, and half the lake lies within a 3-mile boundary. All 14 turbines would be visible from most parts of the lake.

Saponac Pond was designated, in the 1987 Maine Wildlands Lakes Assessment, as a Scenic Resource of State or National Significance (SRSNS), including for "significant" scenic values. Indeed, what is most scenic about the Pond is its view of the beautiful, forested, gently rolling mountain.

However, the original application and the appeals have tried to portray Saponac Pond negatively—as little used by the public (not a valid criterion), and as degraded by the existence of camps and homes along portions of the shoreline; by the fact that the lightly trafficked Route 188 runs along the north shore; by logging operations and two radio towers on the mountain itself; and by the presence of an old sawdust pile on a small section of the northwest shore (the one remaining remnant of an old sawmill on the site). For all these reasons, the appeals argue, the lake itself is of little importance; thus, the scenic impact of wind turbines cannot be "unreasonable."

Fortunately, DEP staff visited the lake in person, realized what a gem it is, and rejected the distorted, negative characterizations of the developer. Their decision to deny a permit affirmed the value and beauty of the Pond and recognized that they deserved protection.

How you can help:

Interested friends can help by attending the BEP hearing—9:00 a.m., Thursday, March 21, at the Augusta Civic Center. Citizens may or may not have an opportunity to speak following formal presentations by the appellants and DEP. To request that opportunity, contact BEP's Executive Analyst, Cynthia Bertocci: 207-287-2452; or email a request to cynthia.s.bertocci@maine.gov.

Or you may send a letter to the BEP Chair, Commissioner Robert Foley (17 State House Station, Augusta 04333) asking the BEP to uphold DEP's finding that the wind development would have an unreasonably negative impact on a valuable SRSNS, Saponac Pond.

Possible talking points:

1. First, please speak to the only issue that BEP can consider: whether the scenic impact on Saponac Pond would be "unreasonable." For this hearing, other issues are outside their purview. Bringing them in anyway could impede BEP from giving full consideration to the many reasons why the visual impact would be unreasonable.

2. If you picnic, boat, fish, ice-fish, canoe, kayak, swim, or bird-watch on or in Saponac Pond, let BEP know. Note that they're only concerned with protecting the public's enjoyment of the resource, so telling about the pretty view from your dock won't cut it. Only when you are on public property are you the public, so that means on the lake itself, driving by on Route 188, or at the Burlington town beach.

         From those vantage points, you can see that existing development on the lake is modest; that the mountain has been protected from irresponsible forestry practices; that the sawdust pile is small, unobtrusive and not a pollutant; and that Route 188 traffic is light.  

3. If you enjoy the lake, tell the Commissioners why and especially where you come from. The appeal tries to portray the lake as a purely local or regional resource, little used by people coming from other parts of Maine or even out of state—again, not "significant." We know that's untrue; be sure to let BEP know. You may also support DEP's point that light use does not mean a scenic resource is unimportant; for some, that enhances its appeal.

4. We can request that the Commissioners visit the lake in person, as the DEP staff did. That more than anything will dispel the negative impression the appeal language tries to create.

5. Night lighting is a concern. The developer did not promise to install radar-activated lighting if FAA approves it, but only to "evaluate" such a system, in part for economic feasibility. It isn't hard to imagine their review concluding that such a capability would not be economically feasible, and so night lighting at close range would add substantially to the scenic damage to the lake.

6. Finally, there's the authoritative 2005 Brookings Institution study, "Charting Maine's Future." It argued that smart economic development in Maine requires protecting our incomparable quality of place, especially against the threat of haphazard rural development and sprawl. This is what draws visitors to Maine and makes people want to live here. The threat to Saponac Pond is a good example of what Brookings meant. It isn't part of a thoughtful, well-designed rural development plan, and will significantly degrade part of what still makes Maine so special and worth protecting.

Thank you for your interest and for whatever you are able to do. For more information, email Passadumkeag Mountain Friends: info@brakewind.org.

Views: 626

Comment

You need to be a member of Citizens' Task Force on Wind Power - Maine to add comments!

Join Citizens' Task Force on Wind Power - Maine

Comment by Allen Barrette on March 14, 2013 at 6:45pm

Once we have a win on an appeal the rest gets easier by quoting the decision in other cases to follow fingers are crossed, This can snowball in our favor. We need this win.

Comment by Gary Campbell on March 14, 2013 at 6:15pm

I expect this will be quite a show. I recall reading somewhere that the President of Quantum was an attorney with Enron in charge of their contracts dept. I'm sure he's surrounded himself with considerable legal talent and will spare nothing to get this denial overturned. I'm planning to be there.

Comment by Monique Aniel Thurston on March 14, 2013 at 10:42am

PLEASE  FOLKS  TAKE  THE  TIME  TO  WRITE A  LETTER  TO  BEP CHAIR, COMMISSIONER ROBERT  FOLEY AS  SUGGESTED BY  ELIZABETH .

JUST  REMEMBER THE  DEFILED APPEARANCE OF  ROLLINS , ROXBURY, WOODSTOCK, VINALHAVEN AND  OTHERS  NOW  SACRIFICED  TO THE  INDUSTRIAL WIND POWER  ALTAR AND  IMAGINE  A  SIMILAR  FATE  TO BEAUTIFUL PASSADUMKEAG !

FOR  THE FIRST TIME  IT  IS ENCOURAGING  TO SUPPORT  THE  DEP , COMMISSIONER  AHO HAS  DONE  A  METICULOUS WORK , WHILE FOLLOWING THE LETTER OF THE LAW. 

THIS APPEAL IS  A SHAME .

FOR  MAINE NOW  AND  FOR  ALL FUTURE GENERATIONS

MONIQUE 

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/

Not yet a member?

Sign up today and lend your voice and presence to the steadily rising tide that will soon sweep the scourge of useless and wretched turbines from our beloved Maine countryside. For many of us, our little pieces of paradise have been hard won. Did the carpetbaggers think they could simply steal them from us?

We have the facts on our side. We have the truth on our side. All we need now is YOU.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

 -- Mahatma Gandhi

"It's not whether you get knocked down: it's whether you get up."
Vince Lombardi 

Task Force membership is free. Please sign up today!

© 2021   Created by Webmaster.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service