CONTACT: Kevin Gurall                                               FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


   CONTACT:  Gary Campbell






First WIND’S BOWERS Mountain Wind Project to be Denied

Grass roots opposition defeats Maine’s largest wind energy developer



April 6, 2012

Lincoln, Maine

The Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC) voted today not to allow First Wind Holdings, LLC of Boston to withdraw its application for the Bowers Mountain Wind Project. The project would have erected 27 forty-three story tall turbines on prominent ridgelines in Carroll and Kossuth, adjacent to the headwaters of the Downeast Lakes.  This area has been a magnet for sporting tourism for more than a century. It is home to the Village of Grand Lake Stream, the state’s premier salmon hatchery, and is the birthplace of the square-end canoe known as a Grand Laker.  LURC also directed its staff to complete the permit denial document as had been decided at their October 2011 meeting. The final denial vote will take place at 9:30 a.m. on May 4, 2012 at the Washington County Community   College in Calais.

The Partnership for the Preservation of the Downeast Lakes Watershed (PPDLW) has led the broad-based opposition to the project.  The Maine Professional Guides Association, the Maine Sporting Camp Owners Association, and the Grand Lake Stream Guides Association also opposed this project.


“I could not be happier.” says PPDLW member Gary Campbell. “It’s been a long arduous battle, but the natural beauty of the Downeast Lakes Region is well worth fighting for. Today’s vote shows that Maine is not willing to sacrifice this magnificent natural resource for a few megawatts of expensive and intermittent wind energy.”


After a long and well documented process that included a site visit, lakes tour, three days of formal public hearings, and three deliberation sessions, a straw poll taken in October showed the Commissioners in unanimous agreement that the project would have an unreasonably adverse scenic impact on a number of significant paddling and fishing lakes, and consequently the numerous sporting camps, lodges, professional guides, and ancillary support businesses that are the lifeblood of the area. The Commission instructed LURC staff to prepare a denial document.


Facing an imminent denial, the applicant, through lead counsel Juliet Browne of Verrill Dana, filed a request several weeks later that they be allowed to withdraw the project application.  After much deliberation, the LURC board tabled the request to withdraw, but did agree to give the applicant some additional time to reconfigure the project.  Interveners in the case argued that the applicant was simply venue shopping. In the end, the LURC Commissioners awarded the applicant an additional 90 days to reconfigure the project in hope of mitigating the project’s scenic impact, while expressing serious reservations that it could be mitigated at all. The applicant assured the Commission that 90 days would be enough time and that they would bring back a formal outline of a reconfigured project by March 9th.


Twenty minutes prior to expiration of the deadline, the applicant submitted a letter stating that “[First Wind] is not able to present a particular reconfigured project to the Commission at this time.” The letter then repeated the earlier request that they be allowed to withdraw the Bowers application. At today’s meeting LURC voted to officially deny First Wind’s request to withdraw and directed its staff to resume preparation of the application denial document. The denial is now scheduled to become official by Commission vote on May 4, 2012. 


The Scenic Downeast Lakes Region encompasses more than two dozen lakes including Pleasant, Shaw, Scraggly, Junior, West Grand, Pocumcus, Bottle and Keg Lakes. The turbines of the proposed Bowers Mountain Wind Project would have been visible from 11 lakes that are officially recognized as Scenic Resources of Statewide Significance, two of which boast Maine’s highest designation as “Outstanding for Scenic Quality” (Pleasant Lake and West Grand Lake).


PPDLW’s President, Kevin Gurall explains, “The Scenic Downeast Lakes Region has a long, rich history of providing a wilderness experience to visitors and sportsmen from all over the world. Celebrities from Ted Williams and Jimmy Doolittle, to Presidents and foreign heads of state, as well as multiple generations of families have been coming here for well over 100 years to enjoy this network of clean, largely undeveloped lakes. The guiding tradition on this watershed can be traced back to the 1850’s. We have 2nd, 3rd, and even 4th generation professional guides who stitch together a living providing sportsmen with an outdoor experience that leaves them with memories for a lifetime. Never mind that this type of experience is becoming rare in Maine, there aren’t many places like this left in the entire continental U.S… and that’s why it’s so important that we protect it so future generations will have the opportunity to make their own memories of the wilderness character and scenic magnificence that is the Downeast Lakes Watershed.  He added, “Those memories need not be ruined by an industrialized landscape… there have to be better solutions to our energy issues than defacing our treasured lake shore landscapes and our mountains.  Tourism is our largest industry in Maine and employs more than 140,000 people. That’s much too important to risk for the mere trickle of high priced energy that’s generated by these wind projects. “


“Although PPDLW sounded the initial alarm, this was a grassroots effort by more than 300 citizens. People from the immediate area, from all corners of Maine and beyond worked together for nearly three years to defeat this project.  It’s a true David vs. Goliath story.  Fortunately, we had common sense, truth, and the state’s scenic impact regulations on our side.” 



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Comment by Long Islander on April 7, 2012 at 6:15pm

For anyone new to the fight, the following may be of interest on First Wind's ties:

"A spokesman for First Wind, John Lamontagne, said that although the wind farms in Maine and New York for which his company received stimulus funds had already been completed, the money "will serve as a sort of stimulus for other, future projects."


"Another $115 million in funds for windmills went to a company called First Wind, which, I noted, had owners that included D.E. Shaw and Madison Dearborn Partners. Shaw is the firm at which President Obama's chief of the National Economic Council, Lawrence Summers, held a $5.2 million a year, one-day-a-week job, and Madison Dearborn is the firm of which Rahm Emanuel, now the White House chief of staff, said, "They've been not only supporters of mine, they're friends of mine".

Comment by Barbara Durkin on April 7, 2012 at 1:50pm
Congratulations on your hard fought victory against First Wind!!!  Thank you, Mainers, for defending the beauty and wilderness from industrialization by these vandals!  You have stopped their rampage and I'm so happy to learn this by note from from ME, with your excellent press release. 
Thank you so much, all, for your most valuable contributions to protect the beauty, wildlife and integrity of Bowers Mountain.
Massachusetts Green Bubble Alert:  First Wind
Barbara Durkin
Comment by Gary Campbell on April 7, 2012 at 10:07am

It's so frustrating that we (PPDLW) provided the press with a detailed and factual press release that included contact info. Yet Bangor Daily News did not follow up with us. Instead they printed an article full of factual errors and a strong pro-wind slant.None of the statements made by Juliet Browne were checked for accuracy.

Comment by Monique Aniel Thurston on April 7, 2012 at 9:37am



  Professional guide David Corrigan adopted an attorneylike stance when questioning a scenic consultant and state wildlife officials about the $136 million project’s effect on 700 acres on Bowers Mountain, about 10 miles east of Lee in Carroll Plantation and Kossuth Township.

Under Corrigan’s brisk cross-examination, Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife regional biologist Mark A. Caron admitted that state surveys of migration patterns of the lynx, which federal officials list as a threatened species, were somewhat lacking in the Kossuth region.

But it was a cross-examination by Juliet T. Browne, attorney for project backer Champlain Wind LLC, a subsidiary of First Wind, that might have helped Corrigan’s case when her questions led to an admission from scenic consultant James Palmer that wildlife guides might lose customers if the project gets built.

“The guides may be dependent on a type of customer that is more sensitive [to the presence of wind turbines]. In that respect, I have to agree with Mr. Corrigan that they have more experience with their customers than I do,” said Palmer, who was hired to advise LURC on the project’s impact on the mountain area. “I don’t have any real knowledge of that particular gentleman user and whether he is shrinking rapidly or static or whatever.”

“That would be information that would be nice to have, but we don’t,” Palmer added

Comment by Donald Moore on April 7, 2012 at 8:02am
This is the view of Bowers from Junior (West"Grand") Lake, Bowers in background. We are guaranteed this view for maybe two years, but no peace as proponents of wind cook up a new scheme!
Comment by alice mckay barnett on April 7, 2012 at 7:43am

Hart,  I do believe the photo simulation that Patriot's Renewables showed the 22 hikers on Mt Blue that day was of the shorter, first planned turbines.  The turbines grew in size.   So survey is void?

Comment by K Campbell on April 6, 2012 at 11:11pm

Thank you to all the wind warriors, near and far, who have pitched in on many stages of this process. We look forward to the formal denial, hopefully in May.

Comment by Hart Daley on April 6, 2012 at 11:03pm

I agree with Alice's comment 70,000 visitors to Mt. Blue State Park as well as to Center Hill and Tumbledown Mountain, all having visual access to the Roxbury project and the proposed Carthage, Canton, Dixfield, Peru proposed projects and possibly the Woodstock project! Our mountains are our scenic treasures.

Comment by Terry Tesseo on April 6, 2012 at 9:41pm

alright too bad about Sisk Mt.

Comment by alice mckay barnett on April 6, 2012 at 7:18pm

redraw the map before steel in the ground.     adverse scenic impact      70,000 visitors to Mt. Blue State Park in Weld Maine.....let us survey

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."


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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