Message to the Natural Resources Committee Regarding LD 911 and Scenic Impact

This is the message I sent to the Maine Legislature's Environment and Natural Resources Committee, including the photos.  It is NOT too late to email or call the Committee members to do the right thing and pass LD 911, which includes a greater scenic impact zone for the ever larger wind turbines and putting cumulative impact into the law as criteria.  Here is the link to the Committee:

My Testimony:

As you consider LD 911 in your committee work session, please weigh the importance of keeping “Vacationland” from becoming a vast wind turbine plantation.  Since the original “wind law” was passed for promoting a special interest, the Legislature has turned away any modifications to this heinous law.  Maine is special because of its incredible and unique natural and scenic resources, but the “wind law” does not adequately protect these resources, which belong to the people of Maine, not the wind industry.
When the “wind law” was passed in 2008, the 8 mile scenic impact zone was applicable to the first generation of wind turbines erected, the GE 1.5 MW machines that topped out at 389 ft from base to apex of the blade.  Few people then could envision where the wind sites would be located relative to Maine’s natural and scenic treasures, nor how large wind turbines would become.  That has all changed in a scant 7 years.  Proposed wind turbines in large numbers are up to 570 ft in height, necessitating a greater scenic impact zone. 
Example:  already visible from Mt. Katahdin are the industrial wind sites at Mars Hill, Stetson, and Rollins, all using the 389 ft tall turbines.  Now rising in Oakfield are 50 turbines that are 489 ft. tall.  A site in Medway/Molunkus will be nearly on the doorstep of Baxter State Park and those turbines will range from 510 ft to 570 ft tall.  The Oakfield site is connected to the grid via a new 58 mile transmission line, meaning every ridge from Oakfield to Chester will be a possible industrial wind site.  What happens to our Maine experience when Baxter State Park gets surrounded by wind turbines, built NOT to meet any electricity needs in Maine, but to take advantage of the tax schemes favorable to a special interest and to meet arbitrary renewable electricity mandates of southern New England states.  Below is a photo of iconic Mt. Katahdin with the 389 ft tall Rollins Wind turbines in Lincoln.  The Medway/Molunkus site is 20 miles closer to Maine’s greatest mountain!
It is time to consider the cumulative impact of industrial wind turbines in Maine, since we DO NOT NEED THEM and many people do not want them.  Consider another example.  Mt. Blue State Park, given to the people of the state of Maine by the Stowell family, qualifies as a “scenic resource of state significance”  From this state park, instead of an uninterrupted vista of Maine’s western mountains, there are now 3 industrial wind sites visible:  Spruce Mt. in Woodstock, Record Hill in Roxbury, and now under construction, Saddleback Ridge in Carthage.  Soon to join the negative scenic impact on Mt. Blue is the Canton Mt. project in Canton that has been approved.  How many more ridges will be blasted away to put up industrial eyesores, further damaging the scenic value of not only Mt. Blue State Park, put also adjacent Maine Public Reserved Lands on Jackson and Tumbledown Mountain?

Lastly, the famed Appalachian Trail traverses the spine of Maine’s Longfellow Range from the New Hampshire border to the northern terminus at Mt. Katahdin.  Maine’s section is highly acclaimed for its rugged and unique terrain as well as the true wilderness experience where vistas contain very little impact of development.  Will this national treasure be transformed from a seemingly endless series of vistas of Maine’s beauty or become a corridor through a vast wind turbine plantation?  You can stop this from happening by passing LD 911 that is a minor amendment to the “wind law” that will make important adjustments to protect the beauty and soul of our incredibly beautiful and unique State of Maine.
This is a photo of the Record Hill Wind project in Roxbury, taken from the Appalachian Trail at the summit of Baldface Mountain.  Scenic Roxbury Pond is in the valley.  The peak in the distance is Mt. Blue, the centerpiece of Mt. Blue State Park.  These turbines are 459 ft. tall and the line of machines, which produce intermittently at less than 30% of their design capacity, shatter the vista.  In Portland, if a developer proposed a 50 story building, everyone would scream and holler about such a building being “out of place” and “way out of scale”.  Yet that is the height of these machines that we allow to impact our finest natural and scenic treasures.
Please pass LD 911 with its sensible and desperately needed additional protections for Maine.  Thank You.
Brad Blake
3 Hearn Rd.
Scarborough, Maine 04074

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Comment by Long Islander on April 30, 2015 at 11:40am

This week, the Maine Public Advocate stated that wind does not increase transmission needs. With Public Advocates like that, who needs Public Enemies?

Comment by Jim Wiegand on April 30, 2015 at 11:19am

Even though they are like having an eyesore tumor on your face, they will tell you that turbines are here to stay and that people will get used to these monsters spinning in the vast open spaces.

Comment by Whetstone_Willy on April 29, 2015 at 10:42pm

This bill should definitely be supported. But in some ways, these bills based on visibility FROM a well known mountain "look through the wrong end of the telescope" - or at least ignore the other end.

As great are the views from a mountain are the views OF the mountain. You can't see the mountain from the summit.

What about the views OF these mountains? There could maybe be a view of Katahdin that is outside the 15 mile limit prescribed by this bill where the persons living in the turbine-affected community will now have 570' tall turbines only a mile or so away from their homes, befouling their view of the mountain and inexorably altering the feel of their area. There could be hundreds of people in a community like that, affected every day of the year versus the 30 minutes a year a hiker might spend atop Baxter Peak looking at turbines 15 miles away.

Both are terrible - the view from the summit and the view of the summit - particularly when these monster machines produce no dispatchable electricity, rendering them next to useless except to the crowd at First Wind and the Angus King types and the tiny handful of locals who will short sightedly sell out the area their neighbors love.


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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