Maine Guides Guide First Wind Out of Downeast Lakes: Bowers Wind is Dead

Now let's stop them at Mattawamkeag and Pleasant Lakes in Oakfield-Island Falls.

CONTACT:    Kevin Gurall                                                                         FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    CONTACT:    Gary Campbell


Project’s Unreasonable Scenic Impact on Pristine Downeast Lakes Region Cited

April 20, 2012
Bangor, ME

With today’s 5-0 vote, the Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC) handed First Wind Holdings LLC of Boston its first ever denial of a wind energy development permit.  The project would have placed 27 forty-three story tall turbines on prominent ridgelines in Carroll and Kossuth in the Scenic Downeast Lakes Region.

“LURC’s decision to deny the Bowers project is true to its founding principles and Comprehensive Land Use Plan” said Kevin Gurall, President of the grass-roots opposition group Partnership for the Preservation of the Downeast Lakes Watershed (PPDLW).

The area most impacted by the proposed project, the Scenic Downeast Lakes Region, includes a network of some two dozen lakes including Pleasant, Scraggly, Junior and West Grand Lakes. For more than a century, sportsmen and families from all over the country and abroad have come to the region to enjoy a wilderness experience devoid of industrial development. It is home to more than a dozen classic Maine sporting camps and boasts the largest concentration of Professional Maine Guides in the State. 

In June 2011 LURC held a two-day public hearing on First Wind’s permit application. In a remarkable turnout for a small community, 374 citizens testified, over 90% of them speaking against the project.  Opposition also came from The Maine Professional Guides’ Association, The Grand Lake Stream Guides’ Association and The Maine Sporting Camp Owners’ Association. Gurall explains, “The Scenic Downeast Lakes Region is almost entirely dependent on sporting- and nature-based tourism for its survival.  Anything that takes away from the wilderness experience will affect tourism which will in turn cost many residents their jobs and their businesses. Clearly this is not the place to build an industrial wind project.” 

The siting of the project was controversial from the beginning. Within eight miles of the project site there are nine lakes that the State of Maine has designated Scenic Resources of State Significance. Two of those earned Maine’s highest rating “Outstanding for Scenic Quality”.  Four of them are within three miles of the project site. In its landmark decision LURC acknowledged that the decision turned on the project’s failure to meet the Wind Law’s scenic impact criterion.  

First Wind’s Director of Communications, John Lamontagne, has said that First Wind will modify the application and resubmit it later this year.  PPDLW spokesman, Gary Campbell responds “We are prepared and committed to defending the region again should they submit a revised plan. The folks who live and make their living in this watershed are convinced that it would be impossible to build an industrial wind facility here that would not seriously hurt the local economy. Even the LURC Commissioners went on the record to express doubt that First Wind can modify the plan enough to bring the project into compliance with the statutory scenic impact limits.”

Gurall continued, “We’d like to thank the LURC Commissioners as well as the members of PPDLW and the hundreds of Maine citizens who stood in agreement with us.  Every day, more Mainers are waking up to the false promises of the wind industry, the extremely flawed Maine Expedited Wind Law, and the financial liability of these heavily subsidized projects.  Just because this state’s previous administration gave away the henhouse, doesn't mean that we should not or cannot go back and review, analyze,  and make adjustments to the wind law.  Nature-based tourism is so vital to the state's economy that we cannot afford to risk it in order to feed an insignificant amount of high priced wind energy into the ISO New England grid.”    

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Comment by James M. Talcott on April 21, 2012 at 11:57am

Congratulations to all and many, many thanks for your hard but very fruitful work. Let's try to hit em again while they do their "rope a dope". Passadumkeag and Greenland Ridge come to mind. Let's expand outward from our core victory and stop them dead in this region, we have sacrificed enough of Mother Earth to these profiteers.

Comment by Gary Campbell on April 21, 2012 at 9:43am

I learned yesterday by LURC that the reason Passadumkeag is being handled by DEP instead of LURC is that there are one or more turbines outside LURC's jurisdiction. That means DEP gets the choice of who handles it.

Comment by Mike DiCenso on April 21, 2012 at 6:45am

Passadumkeag Mtn. is in their sights too by a shell company of FW. Aren't they Enronesque? Congrats to PPDLW and thanks to all  !!!!!

Comment by Brad Blake on April 20, 2012 at 10:22pm

Now let's stop them at Mattawamkeag and Pleasant Lakes in Oakfield-Island Falls.

Yes, and let's stop them at Passadumkeag Mt. on the western edge of the Downeast Lakes and over at Greenland Ridge above East Grand Lake  Both of these projects deserve the same denial for exactly the same reasons as this Bowers Mt. defeat.

Comment by Brad Blake on April 20, 2012 at 10:17pm
Great press release!  Particular thanks to the final paragraph, as it extends the issues beyond Bowers.
I think you guys deserve NRCM's "Environmentalist of the Year" award!
Comment by Penny Gray on April 20, 2012 at 4:39pm

Heartfelt thanks to all who worked so hard to make this happen, and thanks to LURC for doing the right thing under very difficult circumstances.  I hope the DEP is paying attention.  They need to learn better how to do their job of protecting Maine's most valuable economic treasure, her environment.


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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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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