Letter to the DEP regarding the Bingham Meeting.

James J. Lutz

23 Jefferson Street

Bangor, Maine 04401-4851

Home/Fax  207-990-2544   Cell  207-949-2887

jjlutz@aol.com

 

July 12, 2013

 

Re: Bingham Wind Project

 

Mr. Daniel Courtemanch

Project Manager

Division of Land Resource Regulation

Bureau of Land & Water Quality

 

Dear Mr. Courtemanch;

 

I will not be able to attend the meeting on July 22, 2013 regarding the Bingham Wind Project Proposal.  I would like to put forth some questions that should be directed at the developers and get answers before another ridgeline in our beautiful state is destroyed by industrial wind.  These questions are of vital importance before any shovel of earth is turned.

 

  1. Is our current grid substantial enough to adequately carry the fluctuations in the power that comes from wind generated power?  If not, how much more money has to be paid by the Maine ratepayers to bring it up to standards?  We just spent $1.4 billion and raised the rates between 12.5% and 19.8%, all paid by the ratepayers.
  2. Will building this wind site allow us to close any of the currently operating gas or hydro generating plants? Will building ten more sites close any plants?
  3. Will building this wind site improve our air quality or reduce CO2 emissions significantly?
  4. Can this site be built and maintained without government subsidies?  Are these companies willing to put up their own money to build these sites and operate them competitively?
  5. What percentage of the turbines rated output will the actual output of the site be, not just on a good wind day, but on a yearly average? 
  6. How many actual permanent jobs will be created after the construction is finished?  How many Mainers will be involved in the construction?  How much of the actual materials used in the construction are created here in Maine?  How much actually comes from overseas? 
  7. Can we be guaranteed that there will be no health issues from noise and shadow flicker?  Can we be guaranteed that our property values will not be reduced or even wiped out by siting this wind facility. 
  8. Will the lights at night be able to be turned off and on by radar when a plane enters the airspace?  Constant flashing lights are extremely annoying to the quality of place where we used to enjoy Dark Skies Bortle #1 Skys.
  9. What are the rates that will be charged for wind generated power?  How do they compare to the rates we currently get from gas and hydro powered energy?  We have virtually no coal or oil produced electricity in Maine, so what will the wind do to our rates?
  10. How many CO2 sequestering trees will have to be cut and kept from growing again with herbicides to build this project?  This includes roads, turbine sites and surrounding clearcuts.  Will the roads be kept up so they don’t wash out like the ones on other sites, with silt and soil washing into streams and brooks, and flowing down with their pesticides and herbicides into our lakes?   I have pictures to show this happening on the Rollins Project.

 

Mr. Courtemanch, these are serious questions that have not been adequately answered in the past.  Our misguided policies have led us to a breaking point where the Department of Environmental Protection has shirked their responsibilities to the people of Maine for the folly of wind.  These companies should be paying us and selling us energy at competitive rates if this was a good idea.  They would be chomping at the bit to do this if it was profitable.  But we are giving up our “Quality of Place” and paying for it to boot.  The land in Maine is what people from away come here to see, to marvel at our vast wilderness just a few miles from any center of civilization.  Maine has always had that quality, and industrial wind deprives us from that. 

 

Please pose these questions to the developers.  I really don’t think they have any good answers for any of them.  To be honest, I already have the answers from facts that we already know.  This is just a bad plan for our future.

 

Thank you in advance for your time, and I expect more than just a form letter in reply.  Then I will know you have read it and thought about some of the questions yourself.

 

Very truly yours,

 

 

 

James J. Lutz    Bangor, ME

Cc: Patricia Aho, Gov. Paul LePage, Sen. Andre Cushing,

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Comment by Gary Campbell on July 15, 2013 at 7:48pm

Why was DEP not swamped with demands for a hearing? Without a hearing, with intervenor status and all it's privileges, and without the wind developer being grilled under oath, there's not much chance of defeating the project.

Comment by Darren Lord on July 15, 2013 at 10:57am

Patricia Aho, who is the commissioner of the DEP loves "First Wind."  She loves to talk about being fair and about "public feedback" but she is in the camp of Industrial Wind.  She has never seen a wind project that she doesn't love and vote for.  She is going to give her stamp of approval on this......I guarantee it.  Your only hope is to go to Governor LePage.  She has no intention of stopping this $400 million dollar project.  Don't let her deceive you.

Comment by Donna Amrita Davidge on July 14, 2013 at 11:07am

Jin: agreed- one cannot give up- I am now aware of groups like this globally- people like Brad and Gary know how difficult this is in Maine but the DEP/BEP/State and legislators still need to know our arguments and that we are not going away- as Alice said we love our lakes..we went up to the State level and are appealing the eagle permit, last thing- even if they go up we have held them off 2 years- and do not regret it and still feel it is terribly wrong- and sad.

Comment by Jim Lutz on July 14, 2013 at 11:03am

While Gary might be right about the narrow scope the DEP has to look through, I think it is important to make some of these bureaucrats look at the whole picture of Industrial Wind.  The law is too narrow and if we can get some of the lawmakers off their butts and change the criteria, we can make a difference.  This law was written in the dark of night with no chance for debate and no chance for amendments.  That is where we might be able to make a few of these changes to a law that is totally unjust.  Otherwise, we have no chance at all.

Comment by alice mckay barnett on July 14, 2013 at 9:25am

I know only too well that Gary is right.  DEP will site laws and compliances only.  I really do not think DEP can do anything except with complaint protocol.  On the other hand, Patricia Aho can stop a project but then BEP will side with the developer.  appeals appeals appeals..

I do believe Passadumkeag will appeal BEP's decision to the supreme court.  Those people, as well as Bowers people love their lakes. Keep fighting Gary

Comment by Brad Blake on July 13, 2013 at 11:06pm

Gary Campbell is right.  Our legislation in the past session would have stripped PL 661 of all the pro-wind gibberish that caused LD 2283 to become law swiftly in the waning hours of the short session in April 2008.  Even the OEIS report points, if enacted would create a more "level playing field".   Until Democrats turn away from doctrinaire push for "renewables" at all cost, or unless Congress has the fiscal discipline to axe the PTC, this is going to be a long, bruising battle with the odds against us.

Comment by Donna Amrita Davidge on July 13, 2013 at 11:11am

Yes the pullback for offshore is encouraging and LePage is one that looks most in our corner, as you said- like him or not!

Comment by Jim Lutz on July 13, 2013 at 11:06am

It is really important to copy the Governor and some of the influential Legislators.  The Governor still has a veto and can slow these projects down.  Statoil has pulled back on their plans for offshore wind based on the slowdown by the Governor.  Like him or not, he is our best hope on getting some of these projects derailed.

Comment by Donna Amrita Davidge on July 13, 2013 at 11:00am

Gary know the ins and outs all too well of how the expedited wind law protects the selfish wind industry's interests - we too wrote numerous letters to the DEP but I still think they need to keep hearing and be blasted for this infringement on the environment they are meant to protect- your letter has inspired me to do the same and let them know at least that we have not given up our logic and thoughts..

Comment by Gary Campbell on July 13, 2013 at 10:57am

James,

I agree with you wholeheartedly. Your letter would be powerful if it was a letter to the editor or an opinion piece in a major newspaper.

Unfortunately you are addressing the permitting of a specific project and the asinine Wind Act prevents DEP from even considering many of the points you raise.  Take a look at the Wind Act and read the premises (Whereas,... ) establish by the Governor's Wind Task Force. The Whereas premises take most of your concerns off the table. From among your questions, DEP is legally allowed to address only 6, part of 7, 8 and part of 10.  Sadly, when they receive and skim your letter, they will probably disregard it in its entirety.

IMHO, the only way to defeat a specific project is to stick to the decision criteria laid out in the Wind Act, select the one or two criteria that are most vulnerable, and focus exclusively on them.

Gary C.

 

Maine as Third World Country:

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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/

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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."

https://pinetreewatch.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/

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