Please read and SHARE this post previously published on "Lexington and Concord Townships-Help Protect Rural Maine" on November 25th.
Tomorrow, January 4, 2016, is the first day LUPC will begin accepting petitions from UT residents requesting removal from the Expedited Permitting Area for wind. Please take advantage of this opportunity to regain your voice in matters of zoning and development within your communities.
The countdown is on.
On January 1, 2016, Maine residents living and voting in the state’s Unorganized Territories can submit petitions to the Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC) for removal from the Expedited Permitting Area for industrial wind development. On June 30, 2016, this opportunity will expire.
The application process is simple. Contact Tim Beaucage at LUPC by email at Timothy.Beaucage@maine.gov; by phone (207) 287-4894; or at 18 Elkins Lane, Harlow Building 4th floor, Augusta, ME 04333. Request a petition for your UT, as well as the “target number” of signatures needed.
In order for LUPC to consider a UT for removal, your petition must be signed by no less that 10% of the registered voters who voted in the last Gubernatorial election. For example, if you live in 'East Overshoe' and 75 of your citizens voted in the November, 2014 election, you would need a minimum of 8 signatures on your petition in order to be eligible. These signatures MUST be of REGISTERED VOTERS.
In order to obtain a list of the registered voters in your UT, you can call Tina at Maine’s Division of Elections. Her direct number is 624-7651. She will send you a request form and once that has been received, she will mail you the Voter Registration list for your community.
Obviously, it is a good idea to get as many signatures as possible. There is always the chance that one or two signatures can’t be verified, or that a mistake was made by the petitioner when filling out the form. Protect yourselves and your community by acquiring the largest number of signatures possible within the time constraints.
Once LUPC has received a completed petition, they will post notification on their website. At that time, a person has 45 days to request a “substantive review” of the petition.
A request for substantive review is effectively a request to LUPC that they NOT allow that UT to be removed from the Expedited Permitting Area. If such a request is made, it will likely come from wind developers, i.e. NextEra, Iberdrola, First Wind/Sun Edison, etc. It may also come from legal firms or lobbyists working for the Industry, such as Verril Dana, Eaton Peabody, Bernstein Shur, Maine Renewable Energy Associates, et al; or from large landowners hoping to develop their land (maybe Plum Creek, Bayroot or Wagner.)
If someone requests a substantive review, the Commission will schedule one. If at least 5 or more individuals request a Public Hearing, LUPC will include said Public Hearing as part of their review process.
If no one requests a substantive review within the 45 day time-frame, your UT will automatically be removed from the EPA. Such an action will RESTORE to your residents the ability to ‘have a say’ in future industrial wind development by reinstating the process in which a developer would have to request a zoning change in your community prior to applying for a permit to build an industrial wind facility. And a request for a zoning change triggers a Public Hearing…which is where each of us gets the opportunity to give our testimony, submit expert testimony and cross-examine the Industry’s witnesses. It’s where what WE want for our communities gets taken into consideration.
Please avail yourselves of this one-time (and short-term) opportunity to have your equal rights restored; rights which more than 99% of your fellow Mainers still retain. Many of you helped during the arduous process of getting this opportunity passed into Law…and your efforts are greatly appreciated. Now, you have the chance to take back your power as citizens.
We’re here to help. Just send us a PM if you have any questions and we’ll direct you, as best we can.
Happy Thanksgiving from the peaceful and beautiful communities of Lexington and Concord Townships!
For more information, please visit this link: http://www.maine.gov/…/wind_expedited_…/wind_expedited.shtml