Oakfield Opponents' Attorney: "The fix is in for wind"

U.S. court upholds Maine wind farm permit in bald eagle case
Ayesha Rascoe


(Reuters) - A federal court has ruled that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did not violate environmental regulations when it granted a permit to a Maine wind farm, prompting an environmental attorney to remark that "the fix is in" for wind power projects.


Environmentalists sued the agency in 2013, arguing that construction of the wind energy facility in Oakfield, Maine would violate the Endangered Species Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act by threatening the habitats of Atlantic salmon and bald eagles.


The U.S. District Court for the District of Maine ruled on Friday that the Corps did not act arbitrarily and capriciously when it granted a permit to Evergreen Wind Power II allowing the company to fill certain wetlands and streams during the construction of the wind farm.


"We are pleased with the court's decision," said Juliet Browne of Verrill Dana, who represented Evergreen. Work on the wind farm began last year, Browne said.


No decision has been made on whether to appeal the ruling, said attorney Lynne Williams, who represented the environmental groups. Williams said she will recommend against an appeal, because "the deck is stacked against anyone who objects to a wind project."


"The fix is in for wind," Williams said. "They're the only industry that gets a pass on environmental protection because they are 'green'."


Green groups, including Protect Our Lakes and the Forest Ecology Network, said the Corps acted illegally by approving the permit without having sufficient information on the presence of Atlantic salmon in streams in the path of the wind farm's transmission lines.


But U.S. District Judge Jon Levy ruled that the law allows government agencies to act as long as they use the best available data, even if that data is "incomplete or imperfect."


Judge Levy also rejected the plaintiffs' contention that the Corps should not have issued the permit without requiring Evergreen to get authorization to potentially harm eagles.


Levy said there is no evidence that eagles have been harmed or will be harmed by the project in the future.
The case is Protect Our Lakes et al v. United States Army Corps Of Engineers et al, U.S. District Court for the District of Maine, No. 1:13-cv-00402.


For the plaintiffs: Lynne Williams, Law Office of Lynne A. Williams


For the defendants: Robert Williams and John Osborn of U.S. Justice Department, Juliet Browne of Verrill Dana

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/25/usa-energy-windpower-idUS...

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Comment by Mike DiCenso on February 28, 2015 at 4:04pm

The US Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for ruining the habitat of several species of Cutthroat Trout out West. Their poorly sited dams are being removed at great cost. Sad they get a free pass just for nothing. How anything they say could stand up in court amazes me. Levy takes the easy way out as usual.

Comment by Penny Gray on February 25, 2015 at 6:57pm

Thanks for posting.  Two lawyers from the U.S. Justice Department?  Jesus.  The deck is so very stacked against Maine.

 

Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power

 

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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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