Board to vote on wind energy

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FARMINGTON – The Maine Land Use Regulation Commission is expected to make a decision Wednesday on rezoning 1,004 mountaintop acres in northern Franklin County for a 30-turbine wind-energy project.

LURC staffers are recommending approval of Maine Mountain Power LLC’s proposed $130 million wind farm on the ridges of Redington Pond Range and Black Nubble mountains in Redington Township, about 4 miles west of Sugarloaf/USA in Carrabassett Valley.

Commissioners will hold a special meeting to hear the recommendation on the rezoning and preliminary development application at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 24, in the Olsen Student Center’s North Dining Hall at the University of Maine at Farmington.

The wind energy project would consist of turbines on top of towers about 400 feet tall, ridge line roads, transmission lines and access roads among other features. It has received mixed reaction.

Some of those not supportive of the project have claimed that the staff’s recommendation to approve the rezoning is illegal. They say the proposal failed to demonstrate that it would create no “undue, adverse impacts” and that it is consistent with LURC’s comprehensive land use plan. They also claimed it would interfere with hikers’ views of the mountains.

LURC staff brought the proposal to the Maine Office of the Attorney General for review prior to making its recommendation, and it was deemed not to violate the law.

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