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July 12, 2013
Re: Bingham Wind Project
Mr. Daniel Courtemanch
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Yes the pullback for offshore is encouraging and LePage is one that looks most in our corner, as you said- like him or not!
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.
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..
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.
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