One of the most contentious wind power projects has started construction, completely unreported by the Maine media. The Passadumkeag "Wind Park" will desecrate the highest point of land between Cadillac Mt. and Mt Katahdin. Initial public reaction reduced the original proposal from 27 turbines sprawled across the 5 mile long monadnock ridge to 14. The application was filed on February 2, 2012 and the expedited wind permitting process started its rapid countdown.
A poorly advertised public meeting was held on April 25, 2012 followed by a draft DEP staff recommendation for approval on July 5. However, this set off a firestorm of opposition, culminating in a lengthy July 12, 2012 public meeting attended by more than 300 opponents of the project. DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho not only chaired the meeting, she and key DEP staff toured the region. The result was a DENIAL of the application issued on November 8, 2012. The denial was based on the adverse scenic impact on a Scenic Resource of State or National Significance, Saponic Pond, located to the north of Passadumkeag Mt.
Saponac Pond is an SRSNS by virtue of being one of the 280 great ponds in the Maine Wildlands Lake Assessment (Assessment) designated as either “significant” or “outstanding” from a scenic perspective. Of the two possible ratings, Saponac Pond is rated “significant” for scenic character.
On August 20, 2013, the Board of Environmental Protection--not a single member of whom had been to Saponic Pond, Passadumkeag Mt. or the surrounding region--voted to uphold the wind developer's appeal and directed the DEP to issue a license. The decision was based on a narrow interpretation of the Wind Energy Law and the acceptance by the BEP of characterization that "moderate" adverse scenic impact was not enough for the DEP staff to make a decision to deny. The BEP decision was subsequently appealed to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, which upheld the right of the BEP to make the determination to reverse the DEP decision on October 22, 2014.
As long as loose, subjective characterizations by the so-called "scenic experts', whether hired by DEP or on the payroll of the wind developer, that the adverse scenic impact on SRSNS are "moderate", "medium", or whatever, there will be no stopping the proliferation of the sprawling, destructive industrial wind sites. The scenic and natural resources of the state will be destroyed akin to a death by a thousand cuts as ridge after ridge is scalped, blasted, cut & filled, poured with thousands of tons of concrete and hideous wind machines now proposed to be as tall at 570 ft erected on them. Will we lose 350 miles of scenic uplands before we say "Enough is Enough"? Will we destroy Maine's vaunted "Quality of Place" for such a farce?
Below is a photo posted by the lead destruction company for Quantum Utility Generation of Houston on their website touting their work begun at Passadumkeag Mt. This environmental destruction is what people who superficially support wind power because they have succumbed to the two decades of wind power propaganda never see. Save this image. Next time someone says how great wind power is for Maine, send them this photo and ask "Is this protecting Maine's environment?"
The link for the page of AJ Coleman, the destruction company from out of state, is here: http://ajcoleman.com/current-projects/passadumkeag-wind-project/
Notice I said "out of state"? The contract for site clearance didn't even go to a Maine company, contrary to the constant false statements by Maine Renewable Energy Association touting all those Investment dollars wind power brings to Maine.