Tough questions about spoiling view at Baxter State Park

A Texas company that wants to build Maine’s largest industrial wind site in Aroostook County, just 30 miles from Baxter State Park, held a public meeting in Mars Hill. 

One gentleman with whom O’Neil had earlier talked raised his hand in the bleachers and yelled: "I have a question."

The PR lady stuttered and looked nervously back at her team and said into the microphone: "We will all be here for you to ask us questions."

Another man: "I wanna hear his question. And the answer." Crowd:  A murmur of approving "yeahs." PR lady: "We really want to answer your questions and we'll be here to--"

That’s when O’Neil interrupted, "You are required by the rules to 'provide adequate opportunity for public questions.' That is not discretionary. This is that 'opportunity’ and these people deserve to have their questions aired for all to hear."

That resulted in lots of nervous "Who is that jerk in the suit?" looks on the faces of the EDP Team, and lots more "yeahs" from the crowd.

The gentleman in the crowd asked his question, and the PR person answered it. Then she attempted to thank everyone, with the sort of body language one uses when one is wrapping up. That’s when O’Neil jumped in again.

“I have a few questions."

Gentleman in the crowd, to PR lady: "Give him the mic so we can all hear." The PR lady, looking like she had acid indigestion, handed O’Neil the microphone, and he proceeded to very politely ask the questions. (The questions are listed at the end of this post.)

After O’Neil’s second question, one member of EDP Team said, "OK Chris, it's clear that you know the rules but we are not here to take testimony."

O’Neil looked at her sternly and said: "Ma'am, I represent a statewide group and thousands of people who have concerns about this project. I drove 300 miles to ask their questions so that you wouldn't have a thousand people here. You came to Maine proposing the biggest wind project in the northeast and it is serious business. Beginning tonight, you are no longer just delivering doughnuts to the snowmobile club. The application process effectively starts here, and we have questions and answers that will be part of the record. I assume you want to be a good neighbor. Do not be dismissive and do not treat us with hostility. You're in Maine and the game is on. Now play ball."

Please continue reading at:

http://www.friendsofmainesmountains.org/

                                          ***************************************************

EDP Renewables Crawling Around NH

This band of Aroostook-invading subsidy seekers from Portugal who bought their company from Goldman Sachs is busy trying to help themselves to "free" U.S. taxpayer money in other parts of New England as well - ratepayers, residents and countryside be damned.

See: http://www.unionleader.com/article/20141116/NEWS05/141119324

                  *******************************************************************************

12 Questions That were Publicly Asked of EDP Renewables Wednesday Night

On  Wednesday night, EDP Renewables held its Number Nine Mountain Wind Project Public Informational Meeting (PIM) at the high school gym in Mars Hill. The PIM is required of the developer prior to its application submission, and a summary of the PIM must accompany the application.  The following questions were among those that were asked at the meeting in a public manner, rather than in the "corner conversation science fair manner" preferred by the developer, the latter a method that attempts to satisfy the letter of the law but in fact intentionally restricts information flow.

EDP_PIM_Questions.docx

None of the questions were answered.

Please be sure to read the following article in the BDN: 

http://bangordailynews.com/2014/11/14/business/texas-company-holds-...

November 12, 2014

 

                         Questions for Applicant - Number Nine Wind Project

 

 

1.  Maine DEP Rule Chapter 2, Section 13 dictates the requirements for tonight’s Public Information Meeting: At the meeting, the applicant or its designee shall present a

summary of the project; provide clear and concise written information that details

the expected environmental impacts of the project and lists the state, local and

federal licenses necessary for the project; and provide adequate opportunity for

public questions and responses from the applicant. 

 

I thank you for the opportunity to ask a few questions, and in the interest of time, I would

be pleased to allow you to defer responses to any question that might not be readily

answered this evening. Will EDP provide written replies for the record if any question

tonight remains unanswered?

 

 

2.  Maine DEP Rule Chapter 2, Section 13 further dictates: The applicant must submit a

signed certification attesting that a public informational meeting was noticed and held in accordance with this section. The submission must include an estimate of the number of attendees and a narrative responsive to any significant issues relevant to the

licensing criteria that are raised at the meeting. The certification must be submitted

with any application that requires a pre-application meeting pursuant to section 10(B) of

this rule.

 

To the extent that you must submit sworn certification to DEP with your application, and

to the extent one or more of my questions might be technical or misinterpreted, I

request that you share your draft certification and narrative prior to your

submission, so that we can be on the same page before it goes into the record. Will EDP

agree to such collaboration?

 

 

3.  According to the NREL wind resource map, the proposed project area has poor to

marginal wind quality. The Stetson and Stetson II wind projects 50 miles south are

on similarly low hills with weak wind resources.  The Stetsons in 2012 achieved capacity

factors of 21.4% and 18.4% respectively, but they were the beneficiaries of considerable government grant funding.  Maine people want assurance that your LLC has a sustainable

business plan, including full decommissioning of a potential massive blight, in the event of failure, abandonment, or insolvency. DEP now requires full pre-funding of decommissioning,

but the applicant is allowed to estimate the cost, which is always ridiculously low.  Are you willing to bond and guaranty full decommissioning at the actual eventual cost?

 

4.  You have secured leases for +50,000 acres.  So that the public will benefit from

disclosure as the public participation process moves forward, can you please tell us now

who are the lessors and what are their various subsidiaries and affiliated entities?

 

 

5.  An aggrieved party in Connecticut has a pending law suit against the Connecticut

department that ordered your controversial Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). The State

has filed a motion to dismiss. If the motion is denied, the court could take considerable

time before we know the outcome of the litigation. Given the tenuous status of the

Production Tax Credit, and given the increased viability of large-scale hydro and New York

wind to satisfy state mandates, thereby diminishing the likelihood of a lucrative PPA, and

given the probability that regional natural gas deficiencies will soon be fixed, what

assurances will you give Maine that this project is a viable business concern, discussing

each of the above factors.

 

 

6.  Transmission and generator lead lines for wind projects are expensive. The proposed

project is separated from the ISO-New England by a considerable transmission gap,

which is exacerbated by the Orrington bottleneck.  Emera Maine and other utilities have

devoted considerable resources to maintaining regional reliability at minimal cost to

ratepayers. According to an Emera Maine report dated 12-18-13, Emera Maine might be required to purchase that portion of the lead line necessary to connect to ISO-NE, with socialization implications.  Please explain all the implications for ratepayers in the various systems, based on all the possible T&D configurations that might occur relating to this wind project.

 

 

7.  Last year a representative of your company named Jeff Bishop testified before the

Maine legislature on LD 1750, a bill brought by the wind lobby. Mr. Bishop explained

EDP’s support for the bill because it “clarifies that wind developers do not have to prove

the energy and emissions benefits of their project…”  He further said “this seems

appropriate.”   As Mainers have become increasingly educated on wind energy’s true

impacts & benefits, we have come to know that wind energy’s “energy and emissions”

benefits are theoretical at best, and in many cases are fictional. Given that we are being

asked to absorb massive environmental and economic impacts from this sprawling and

costly project, including encroachment on “forever wild” Baxter State Park, will you

please be a good neighbor and delineate said benefits for us, subject to expert review

and cross examination during the permitting process?

 

 

8.  The Connecticut Legislature has repeatedly upheld their law essentially forbidding

industrial wind energy in the Nutmeg State.  Congratulations to you in winning the

still disputed (see #5) competition for Connecticut Renewable PPAs, topping a field of 47

bidders, many of which were in Connecticut. DEEP Commissioner Dan Esty awarded EDP

for 250 megawatts of capacity, and a CT solar firm for 20 Megawatts of capacity.  Given

that Connecticut lawmakers refuse to site wind complexes in their own state, and given

the sacrifices Mainers will be asked to make, would EDP support a Friends of Maine’s

Mountains initiative that seeks Connecticut land for the relocation of  Maine’s nuclear

waste to Connecticut?

 

9.  If you took that question as somewhat facetious, this one is not.  We have had too many bad experiences with wind developers and we do not trust them. How many EDP employees were ever employees of Enron or its affiliates and subsidiaries?  Please list all, and their

current positions at EDP.

 

 

10.  For about a year EDP has stationed a pair of young public relations staffers in

downtown Presque Isle.  For several years EDP and the former Horizon have conducted PR activities in the area. Surely your activity is more than buying coffee and donuts for the snowmobile club. Please save Maine taxpayers the expense of Freedom of Information

Access compliance, and provide for the record all correspondence with public officials

regarding the project.

 

 

11.  Roughly 10,000 square miles of Northern Maine have been designated as lynx critical habitat by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. What has been done to determine that a

sprawling project involving extensive blasting and clear-cutting will not disturb this

endangered species and comply with the federal Endangered Species Act?

 

 

12.  Stakeholders in Aroostook are now grappling with several serious issues in the MEPCO-

Emera-NB Power-Van Buren-Houlton-NMISA region. The system here has serious issues,

from reliability to potential base load shortages.  We have two biomass plants with 70

megawatts of base load capacity.  Those ostensibly could provide load following to

balance the zero capacity generation that you propose, which is unlikely to perform more

than 15 minutes per hour on average. Those dispatchable biomass generators with firm capacity will certainly be harmed by grid disruption as a direct result of your project, and

they will need to find higher revenues through rates and capacity payments, or they may

very well go under, putting hundreds of local people out of work, including forest products professionals who provide some $40 million worth of fuel annually.  Then Aroostook will

need to get its base load and load following power elsewhere, perhaps from oil plants in

New Brunswick.  In short, irrespective of whether it is useful or necessary, your project

could cause calamity.

 

12A.  When you submit your tangible benefits/community benefit package in your

application next month, will you provide a true “net” benefits assessment, deducting the negative impacts, including those named above, or will you merely report half the equation, which is to count the money that you sprinkle around the County?

 

12B.  Given the pending negative impacts on system reliability and ratepayers, will you 

agree to an additional criterion in your permit process:  a PUC Certificate of Public

Convenience and Necessity?

 

Thank you for your apparent willingness to be a good neighbor. Your proposal has

lots of people concerned, so your ability to adequately answer our questions here will go

a long way in determining that EDP and the project will be good for us.  We look forward to your replies.

 

 

 

Friends of Maine’s Mountains           PO Box 60   Weld, ME  04285         mainemountainfriends@gmail.com

BDN - Katahdin Views Threatened by Portuguese wind farm in Aroostook County - First Public Meeting Held

Katie Chapman (left), project manager for EDP Renewables, and Jeff Bishop, a member of the company's government relations team. 

The largest wind project in Maine would spoil the view from Baxter State Park. Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy announced that EDP had signed long-term power purchase agreements with the state’s..., Connecticut Light and Power and United Illuminating.

EDP officials say that the project would feature 125 two-megawatt or 83 three-megawatt turbines. “That’s a big footprint,” Bernier said Friday.

http://bangordailynews.com/2014/11/14/business/texas-company-holds-...

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Comment by Whetstone_Willy on November 20, 2014 at 5:39pm


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confidence_trick

Vulnerability to confidence tricks

Confidence tricks exploit typical human characteristics such as greeddishonestyvanityopportunismlustcompassioncredulityirresponsibilitydesperation, and naïvety. As such, there is no consistent profile of a confidence trick victim; the common factor is simply that the victim relies on the good faith of the con artist. Victims of investment scams tend to show an incautious level of greed and gullibility, and many con artists target the elderly, but even alert and educated people may be taken in by other forms of confidence trick.[6]

Accomplices, also known as shills, help manipulate the mark into accepting the perpetrator's plan. In a traditional confidence trick, the mark is led to believe that he will be able to win money or some other prize by doing some task. The accomplices may pretend to be strangers who have benefited from performing the task in the past.

Comment by Martha thacker on November 20, 2014 at 7:17am

Thank you for this post. I am so grateful to Chris O'Neal for his standing up for ME ..and the massive amt. of research that went into his questions.

The leaders of political parties cannot take a position and stick with it without backing from their state movers and shakers. Conn. has taken a position of anti wind farm for years now. Why is it so different from ME? Maybe it is all the Wall Street types who have homes there and do not want wind farms in their back yard. True NIMBYs.

Most Mainers do not fit into this category..and if they do...the wind farms do not affect them. Because the wind farms affect a few living close by. But the transmission lines affect an entire state.They are dangerous and ugly, just like turbines. Conn. had a governor and now senator who represents those interests.

Comment by Eric A. Tuttle on November 15, 2014 at 2:53pm

K Campbell is correct. Also if and when possible Video Record all events concerning this issue.

Any comments made Public Hearings are like sworn testimony in Court, on Both sides. So utilize facts and Sciences, and documentation of such.

Comment by K Campbell on November 15, 2014 at 2:50pm

Guys ---- Please request a public hearing and become an intervenor. Otherwise there is no chance to stop it.

Comment by Martha thacker on November 15, 2014 at 1:47pm

Senator Blumenthal is anti wind farm. I have written about his objections on this site. He vigorously fought the transmission lines for a "few wind farms in upper state ME."

Comment by Kathy Sherman on November 15, 2014 at 12:01pm
Fantastic questions- thanks. It makes it so clear that BDN so badly twisted FMM as concern for the view 30 miles away. I wish that the same kinds of questions were answered for First Wind's contracts with MA utilities - financing by Emera under appeal; transmission costs (AG tried but was shot down, even though plans by Emera and by First Wind subsidiary for Oakfield surely were known 10 months ago). I hope that a foremost demand will be added for all subsidiary permitting issues -- the exact make and model of turbine must be identified with all acoustic parameters, and no later attempt to substitute a 117 m rotor for 100 m!! They will surely argue that the wonders of hugely up-scaled rotors and increased height will allow 'more efficient' harvesting of this minimal wind resource, but there is now also abundant evidence that the acoustic pollution rises in parallel and that the deviation from the idealized wind flow on which manufacturers base their sound power values in forested surround is magnified. Mars Hill did get higher capacity than subsequent projects but only by variance in sound limits. The neighbors (although not the war vet 1.5 or so miles away) may be silenced by their settlement, but the public record and publication is not. Nor is Hazel Lynn in Ontario, Mason Co pre-settlement on Consumer's Energy or the Brown Co. Board of Health. On the nuclear waste, I suggest giving it to the lame-duck Senate Majority leader as payment for efforts to extend the PTC and I recommend a letter sharing all these concerns to CT Senator Blumenthal. As former Attorney General he may have more expertise in the legality of the executive branch usurping regulatory powers as done in all our New England states!! But the rejection by CT legislature is regs promulgated by a siting board that would put industrial scale turbines 400 or 500 ft from homes
Comment by Martha thacker on November 15, 2014 at 11:08am

In the permitting stage of Stetson I and II, we had about 20 people meet with Matt Kearns from First Wind. Our questions were answered with "I don't know" ...for the majority of answers. We noticed misrepresentation of facts even with our small amt. of research at the time. The Mars Hill people were in touch with us and so we knew more then about Mars Hill than Matt exected. Now , I think, they are under a gag order.

Despite FW being a multi national corporation, nobody would answer the telephone in Boston or Bangor , their offices at the time...prior to permitting. When someone finally answered the phone, it was the last day to file intervenor status and the ME legislature had passed eminent domain for transmission lines. Seemed kinda' orchestrated. 

They bypassed all those worrisome details and didn't even have a hearing for Stetson II. So  ,in a nutshell , at the time, FW  has gotten away with "I don't know " for questions in this area. Noone seemed to be interested in the fact that they were not forthcoming and were dishonest.

Comment by K Campbell on November 15, 2014 at 10:49am

Folks, Please please please request a public hearing! Once the application is up, you need to get many people to ask for a public hearing. You have to give technical reasons - it's the largest project in Maine, scenic impacts are extensive and important, and it impacts many communities. If you do not request a public hearing there is NO CHANCE for anyone to question the developer. You also need folks to petittion to be intervenors so you can provide testimony and question the developer. That is the ONLY WAY - i.e. in a public hearing.

Comment by Kathy Sherman on November 15, 2014 at 1:18am
Great that FMM went, but this is ground zero for impacts on people and Dr. Nissenbaum's research in Mars Hill which for the first time recorded not anecdotes from around the globe, which is important but gives no idea of prevalence. He did and he has no peer for understanding sound. I admit that when I read in a local paper that this radiologist reported...it was what was up with that but then he presented by Skype and there is no one that I am more indebted to for understanding industry consultant's tricks or the complicated acoustic emissions of industrial wind turbines. You want to save Maine wild, please remember that people are just the first species able to report the noise impact. Don't validate that it is just aesthetics, and I am sure that Chris was probably misrepresented. What did the other 49 who showed have to say.
This is huge, please keep covering from A-Z.

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/

 

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

******** 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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We have the facts on our side. We have the truth on our side. All we need now is YOU.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

 -- Mahatma Gandhi

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Vince Lombardi 

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