Why Your Town Must Create a Wind Ordinance

John Droz, Jr. on How to Succeed in the Wind Energy Fight

I was asked to speak at a town board meeting this week. They were quite interested in how to best protect their community from the threat of a proposed wind project. This is a condensed version of what I said


Since an industrial wind project is something you may have to live with for 20± years, it seems wise tocarefully, objectively, and thoroughly investigate this matter, ahead of time

After working with 100± communities throughout the US, my conclusion is that your absolute best and first line of defense, is a well-written, protective set of wind energy regulations.

The focus of these regulations should be to protect the healthsafety and welfare of the community.


These regulations can be in a stand-alone law, or part of a more comprehensive zoning document. (Where they appear is significantly less important than their content.)


Note that writing these regulations is not about excluding wind energy development — but rather it’s about protecting the citizens, small businesses, the economy, the military, and the ecosystems of your community.

So, how do you go about creating proper wind energy regulations? Well, you have two very differentchoices…

1 - Option One is to figure out what needs to be done, on your own. 

Since this is an extremely complex technical matter (with wide-spread ramifications), you’ll need to find the following local people: physicist, electrical engineer, civil engineer, acoustical engineer, physician, financial PhD, hydro-geologist, ecologist, bat expert, ornithologist, EMF expert, real estate appraiser, and last but not least, a technically competent lawyer. That would be your team.

In addition, each of those local people need: 

a) to have an interest in this matter, 

b) to be supportive of citizen rights, and 

c) to have the time available to assist the community. 

After you’ve collected these experts (that meet those three qualifications), make sure to also allow for at least a year to do research, to have multiple meetings, etc., etc.

The fundamental question is: do you have all those resources in your community, and the time? 


If you are missing any of those experts (or don’t have the time), the wind regulations that result will likely leave you not properly protected, and very vulnerable to a wind project getting built…

2 - Option Two is to stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before you.

Many are not be aware of it, but some 250 communities in the US have had to deal with industrial wind energy. Every case is different, but a few were fortunate enough to have the necessary cross-section of experts living nearby. Some were proactive, so they had the luxury and time to do more research. Etc.

In any case, in every one of the 250± other communities, there are lessons to be learned — both what to do, and what not to do. One of my beliefs is that it rarely makes sense to reinvent the wheel — and particularly not in a complex technical matter like industrial wind energy.

That’s the point of my free citizen advocacy service, and my website (WiseEnergy.org), and my monthly Newsletter (which now has some 10,000 readers). All of these are intended to sort out, and then pass on to you, the best ideas out there. 

As we announced several months ago, to help those who want to go the Option Two route, we are advocating a model local wind law. (The explanation and supporting data behind it is found on the Key Documents page of our website.)

When all is said and done, it’s your community — so it’s your call how to deal with any proposed wind project. 


We’ve simply tried to make it easier to be successful in dealing with this extraordinary challenge — by giving you the Science perspective, and by sharing with you some of the wind energy experiences of numerous other communities. 

Let me know any questions you have, or suggestions to improve our services.


john droz, jr.

physicist & citizen advocate

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Comment by Paula D Kelso on October 1, 2016 at 2:35pm


These are the minutes of the Clifton Planning Board in November 2009:


Present: Gerald Folster, Bill Rand, Bruce Jellison, Vernon Campbell

Also: CEO Rick Leavitt, Planning Assistant, Paula Kelso and Selectman, Carol Jordan

Meeting call to order at 7:03PM by Bill Rand


New Business: Permit Application for accessory building by Justin Hatch located on 21 Brooks Lane. The building is located within shoreland and therefore requires planning board review. Proposed structure met all setback requirements. Application was in order and therefore, unanimously approved by board

Next order of business was Chris Fickett review of his boat business located on Rt 180. Chris was issued a permit 13 months ago to move location to access road located on a different parcel of land within his subdivision. Chris explained that due to the economy, his business has virtually become defunct; however he does hold out hope that he can continue to operate his business at the current location should the boat business rebound. He was reminded by the board that his permit for the new location has expired and would have to be renewed if he should decide to proceed with the new location. No further action needed to be taken by the board at this time.

Next order of business: Presentation and update on Oak Hill Developers, Inc for wind farm project on top of Pisgah Mountain by Paul Fuller. Mr. Fuller explained that after erecting a 200’ MET tower on top of mountain, initial results are favorable to move forward with the next stages of project which would encompass bird and bat studies, and wetlands studies , and so on as required by the state department of environmental protection. Mr. Fuller spent a great deal of time showing how his project would address setbacks from any rural housing. He addressed this because of previous projects which have met great resistance to noise and shadow flicker imposed upon residences near the towers. The Pisgah project would be greater than 4000’ from the nearest residence. Some of the questions asked of Mr. Fuller during the presentation were:

  • Carol Jordan asked how the Springy Pond road would be upgraded to accommodate the delivery of equipment to the site. Mr. Fuller explained the road would be straightened and widened and returned to a condition the same or better than before.

  • Bruce Jellison asked about the dimensions of the equipment with a concern for the turns from Rt 9 onto Rt 180. It was explained that this had already been studied and the trucks would be able to make the turns with the proper police escort.

  • Gerald asked about any deer wintering yards that might affect the project. It was answered that the proper wildlife studies would be conducted, but at this time, there was no indication of deer wintering yards.

At this time, Bill Rand explained that under the current ordinance, there was no section devoted to the review of wind farms; however the planning board was working on the new Land Use Ordinance with a section being addressed for wind farms. There was a general consensus among board members that they would like to work with Oak Hill Developers to make this project work. Bruce touched on the additional tax revenue from the project. Although the town valuation would increased, he cautioned that this might be tempered somewhat by the increase in the S.A.D. 63 valuation.

In closing out the evening, Bill Rand suggested that moving forward, a sub committee made up of planning board members, selectman, the planning assistant and a private citizen be formed to work with Oak Hill Developers in establishing a new wind farm ordinance. This could be a stand alone as Rick Leavitt suggested or it could be a chapter in the new LUO. Rick has e mailed all the board members a copy of the “Model Wind Energy Facility Ordinance”.

Meeting was adjourned at 8:20PM

Comment by Jim Wiegand on October 1, 2016 at 1:07pm

John Droz asked me for some advice on this and this is what I told him......................

Accountability with consequences will kill this fraud based industry. Requiring Scientific mortality studies with all carcasses reported, hefty fines and prosecutions for hiding carcasses  population studies and making each account for the actual energy produced. Consequences should include hefty fines for certain species and even bigger fines and shutdowns during nesting seasons to protect from territory abandonment. Accountability  would also require an accounting of all energy flowing into the project from the grid so production tax credits cannot be embellished. Lastly carpet bagging developers should also be responsible for their wind project destruction for life of the project no matter who owns it.                                                                                                                                                               If you are not aware of how out of control accountability is with this industry, rigged 2015 USGS studies are embellishing the golden eagle population in a 2000 square mile area around Altamont by over 10 times.

Comment by Thinklike A. Mountain on September 30, 2016 at 11:02pm

See this link:


It may be that the State Model Ordinance in Maine was produced by the State Planning Office. According to Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maine_State_Planning_Office

The Maine State Planning Office (SPO) was part of Maine's executive department responsible for providing independent analysis to the Governor and Legislature on the development of the state's economy and conservation of its natural resources, as well as planning assistance, policy development, program management, and technical assistance for Maine's communities, businesses, and residents.

Created in 1968, it reported to the Governor, but was routinely called upon to assist the Legislature and other state departments and agencies.

The State Planning Office had three core functions assigned to it by statute: 1) Advise the Governor on developing and implementing policy; 2) Assist the Legislature with information and analysis, and 3) Administer financial and technical assistance programs to help build sustainable communities.[1]

The Maine State Planning Office was eliminated effective July 1, 2012.

So since it no longer exists, what state body could update the model ordinance so that it takes into consideration all the real life harm caused by industrial wind? Whoever can update it should. And then it should be widely publicized so towns would hopefully adopt their own ordinances that are at least as protective.

Comment by Eric A. Tuttle on September 30, 2016 at 8:48pm

If the local governance will not push it to a vote, after receiving sufficient petition signatures, you may by current statute seek any notary public in  Maine to call a meeting to call the question to a vote. Thus bypassing the local governance. After that, it is up to a court of competent jurisdiction to determine the validity if it is challenged by either the local governance or a corporation or individual. The vote is a Must happen event  once the petition signatures are validated. The notary has no option but to comply and the local governance can not prevent as the notary is an actor of the state and is compelled by statute with the word "Will" call the meeting for the vote. 

Comment by Eric A. Tuttle on September 30, 2016 at 8:41pm

This was the press release after the Rights Based Ordinance Passage

Parkman passed a similar Ordinance but for a minor change to meet the community needs.

This may not be suitable for each community, however you do have the RIGHT as a community to enact an ordinance on an issue the state does not cover as a protection.

Right now the state is not being protective, but permissive.


The Sangerville Community Rights Group has written a Rights Based Ordinance (RBO) to prohibit projects like the East West Corridor in town. The group has presented a power point and discussion to townspeople on several occasions over the past few months, including one official public hearing where suggestions and concerns were heard. A modified ordinance went to a public vote on September 18, passing 86 in favor of adopting the ordinance, 40 not in favor.

This marks the first Community Bill of Rights Ordinance to protect a municipality from infrastructure projects built without the consent of voters anywhere in the country, and the fourth Rights-Based Ordinance for the state of Maine.

Sangerville voters approved the Rights Based Ordinance to assert, “the community’s Right to Sustainable Infrastructure which is integrated into the community as part of the Town’s planning processes, which benefits the Town, and does not damage the natural environment.”

Concerned about recent attempts to sell local residents on positive aspects of a project known as the East-West Corridor, local townspeople from across Piscataquis County called the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund for assistance, because they did not think the plan proposed for their area fit well with their vision of community.

Following several Democracy School trainings to learn how municipalities are considered to be devoid of authority to ban any “legal land use” permitted by the State, residents of Sangerville began working with CELDF assistance to draft a Community Bill of Rights for their Town, to assert the right to local self-government.

The Ordinance bans “land acquisition for, or construction of, transportation and distribution corridors” within the Town and makes it illegal for corporations and government to deny the rights of residents secured by the Ordinance.

The Ordinance goes into effect immediately and is enforceable against private and public actors.

“The RBO has reawakened discussion of shared visions and values in town while empowering the community on an issue where the system was not otherwise working for them. We've gone from feeling terrorized by the threat of the EW to being strengthened in many ways,” commented resident, Leigh Wiley, when asked how he felt about the local law.

Several communities, faced with the proposal to bisect the State of Maine with a transportation corridor, are following the lead of Shapleigh and Newfield, Maine and Barnstead, Nottingham, Sugar Hill and four other towns in New Hampshire, where Rights-Based Ordinances were enacted between March 2006 and 2013.

The Sangerville Ordinance is the most recent of all of the CELDF Ordinances to date and follows in the fifteen year tradition of working with communities at their request to draft legislation adopted at the municipal level in order to ban unwanted corporate activities that could potentially harm residents, threaten local economies, and damage natural water systems and ecosystems.

Selectwoman Melissa Randall had this to say, following the vote, “Tonight Sangerville exercised our right to self-governance to protect our homes, our waters and forests, and our way of life. No corridor/ No compromise.”

Comment by Eric A. Tuttle on September 30, 2016 at 4:39pm

My understanding is that the DEP must follow the Statutes without question as to their intent. However the BEP may go back and ask for more clarification or better protective statutes. This ability was granted when the establishment of the BEP was done. The DEP however must adhere to Federal and State statutes. Thusly the BEP (Maine) can request at will, stronger statutes provided it is not outside the scope of The EPA.      But.......... due to not knowing their authority or abilities since the BEP establishment or the unwillingness to do so by key individuals, for unknown (or known) reasons this protection is not being addressed as each assault comes into being. I am not absolutely sure how this works, but on the current 3rd attempt to pass bad rules on the Mining issue this ability has been called......... and sent to the AG's office. 

Comment by Thinklike A. Mountain on September 30, 2016 at 3:30pm

So if the DEP came up with the state's Model Wind Ordinance, would it be unreasonable to petition the DEP to redo it, given all the years that have passed and all the Mainers who have been harmed?

Comment by Eric A. Tuttle on September 30, 2016 at 3:28pm

Dover-Foxcroft, the County Seat of Piscataquis, may still be working on such an ordinance but the organizers lacked the willpower to override the town council when they got confused on their rights to bypass them on the issue using a notary public to call the vote. They had the brass ring in hand, but dared not to proceed.  I believe another attempt may be underway.

Comment by Paula D Kelso on September 30, 2016 at 3:26pm

As to the state's model, I think the DEP came up with it, but not positive.

We, Clifton, started with that model and then moved on to Dixmont and Thorndike and then perused every one that came up. This was in 2010 and early 2011. some of the municipal ones had certain strengths that the state model lacked. But what it really boiled down to in our town was that the developer was right there in every workshop and at every vote. It was not possible to draft an ordinance in a non-controversial atmosphere. We had talked in a workshop about a one mile setback and that was what the next draft presented to the Board had in it. That draft I sent out to the Board and the town office the day before the next meeting. I got two phone calls at my home that morning. The first was from the developer saying that he thought the town was going to do 4000 feet not one mile (this was from protected locations, not property lines). I told him that he would have to take that up with the Board when it came up for discussion. And, being me, I says, "So one mile is a deal breaker, huh?" and he said it was. Then within an hour, one of the Planning Board members calls me, surprise, to talk about the one mile setback. Basically, I said that's how it was left the last meeting so that's the way I wrote it up. The next night, two hours into the meeting, I'm tired and scrambling to keep up my notes, when all of a sudden in a workshop where no votes are taken, the member who called me the day before is making a motion to change the setback from one mile to 4000 feet. I see red and demand the chairman go out in the hall for a discussion. At first he refuses and then follows me out. I inform him of the two phone calls the previous day and ask him what the citizens who have already left thinking the one mile is a done deal will think if this change takes place in the eleventh hour. He looks sober so we go back into the room; and he calls a vote on the motion and it passes unanimously. And then he reminds everyone not to talk outside of meetings.

Long story to just make everyone aware that you have to go about this stuff with your eyes open and not trust anyone. Yes, the DEP is working now to update the state standards now that it's too late for many places in Maine. In Clifton, because the town standards are 'stricter' than the state standards, our town officials will be monitoring and enforcing standards for Pisgah, not the DEP. This whole thing is so out of control. Maybe only our fearless leader in the Blaine House can get the publicity it warrants but then we'd have a credibility issue? Thank goodness, I guess, that it's not a gubernatorial election year.

Comment by Eric A. Tuttle on September 30, 2016 at 3:24pm

These ordinances are the Rights of Communities, and are specified as such under the Maine and U.S. Constitutions (2nd Amendment), with the right to create them provided in both the (9th & 10th).

After reading 800+ Pages of Dillons Rule, (Supreme Court Justice Dillon) it is better seen why this is how we need to protect our communities. And it can be seen how we relate to the town government, how the town relates to the state, and the state to the federal level. Also it can be better understood how Corporations hold equal power to the state other than the creation of statute, rules, regulations and can easily access Eminent Domain ability. 


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 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/

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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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