Wind farm proposals multiply

RUMFORD – With dozens of wind
turbines proposed in a half-dozen towns in various stages of
planning, the Wind Farm Development Committee of Rumford is planning
a panel discussion on the pros and cons of such development.

The forum begins at 6 p.m. Oct. 13 in
Muskie Auditorium of Mountain Valley High School.

The local committee is particularly
concerned with tentative plans by First Wind, LLC, of Newton, Mass.,
to site a 40-megawatt wind farm on the ridge that connects Black,
South Twin and North Twin mountains. Most of the site is in
Rumford, with a small portion in Roxbury.

“We want to get more information
about it,” said Karl Aromaa, one of the committee's members. “We
want to get both sides.”

Among the panelists are: Albert
Aniel, a 30-year physician in the Rumford area; Steve Thurston, a
Roxbury summer resident and Vermont resident who heads up Peoples'
Task Force on Wind Power; J. Dwight, Wilton, a member of the Maine
Heritage Policy Center; Tom Powell, a Dixfield businessman who has
discussed a wind farm proposal in Dixfield; Steve Bennet, whose home
is near a Freedom wind farm; and Lisa Linowes, a New
Hampshire resident who is executive director of Industrial Wind
Action Group.

Aromaa said one or more First Wind
representatives are expected to appear. He is also looking for a
representative from the state or other organization, such as the
Natural Resources Council of Maine, to attend the forum.

He said the Rumford group began meeting
a couple of months ago after watching the Roxbury process which
included opposition from many of the town's residents. Independence
Wind, owned by Robert Gardiner and former Gov. Angus King, received
approval recently to construct 22 wind turbines on a ridge in the
town.

Also being looked at are a ridge in
Carthage that would accommodate 12 or 13 turbines, three in
Buckfield, 10 to 13 in Woodstock, and 8 to 20 in Dixfield.

Dixfield plans to hold a special town
meeting next week asking for action on a proposed moratorium on wind
farms until an ordinance can be written. Buckfield selectmen are
considering the same thing. Rumford selectmen turned down a request
for a moratorium last month. Carthage continues to work on the
ownership of part of the ridge where an expanded proposed wind farm could
could be sited. Most of the land proposed for a wind farm is under
private ownership.

In Woodstock, Patriot Renewables'
proposal has advanced to going before the Planning Board next month
for site plan review.

First Wind has dozens of wind projects
in various stages of development throughout the Northeast and western
states.

Another forum to explore wind energy
issues in Oxford County is also planned for 7 a.m. Oct. 23 at the
Four Seasons Function Center in Paris. That event is hosted by the
Western Maine Economic Development Council and will include
representatives from Patriot Renewables, Kean Project Engineering of Turner,
the Natural Resources Council of Maine, Thurston and others.

eadams@sunjournal.com

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Comments

Dee Beaudoin's picture

When this group first

When this group first approached the Rumford Selectmen to request a 180 day moratorium, the selectmen correctly pointed out that windpower in Rumford is years away as no one has even applied for permits for roads to do the testing. The selectmen feel that there is plenty of time for careful, deliberate and thorough education so the people can make wise decisions on this matter.

Ron Theriault wisely pointed out that in his examination of the subject he found much on the internet written by those with the title Dr. or Ph.D. He being quite wise did not just take those titles as the gospel that the writer or speaker was doctor of, had a Ph D in or so forth in the field they seemed to suggest they were an expert in. I must say, Ron was a step ahead of me here. He had mad a point of checking the credentials of the Dr., PhD and soforeth to see if they were indeed credible. He suggested that thre Town bring in credible speakers to educate us.

The moratorium group has now scheduled a meeting and invited a number of speakers whose names have been made public. I decided to take Ron's advice befor I ventured to the High School and see what credibility through credentials I could fid for the listed speakers. Albert Aniel is a local physician of general practice with no specialty in the relavent areas of accoustics or anything else I could find. He submitted a proposal to the MMA against wind power which according to MMA documentation was rejected 9-1. Steve Thurston is a resident of Roxbury and other than being involved in three failed attemps to ban wind power in Roxbury he has no special knowledge. Steve Bennet is a former selectmen ib Freedom with large land holdings that according to the articles I read where not of interest to the windpower developer there. He was also previously considering developing a senior community on this very large parcel at one time but again, according to what I read had given up on that plan. after Plum Creek that is understandable. He is not trained in any field relavent to windpower. Tom Powell is the business from Dixfield who recently offered to assist Dixfield in gathering information and in the articles he claims no knowledge just a desire to learn and make an informed decision. Jay Dwight is a newspaper commentator. You may remember his commentary a while ago comparing the economies of Maine and New Hampshire, no wind power related expertise here either. Then we have Lisa Linowes who has a masters degree in marketing and was formerly with Xerox, autodesk, Houghton ?ifflin before beginning several of her own startups. Again no engineering. environmental or accoustics expertise or training.

If First Wind attends this meeting, they will be the only qualified speakers and at this point, they are not coming and neither am I. I hope at some point Rumford will have qualified people address the citizens and I will attend at that time. For now, if I want hystirics, conjecture, inuendeau, and scare tactics I will read the newspaper or a fiction novel
If we could only return to common sense...

Victoria Fimiani's picture

Let's learn from what has

Let's learn from what has happened in other towns and not have a situation like this-
http://waldo.villagesoup.com/print/Print.cfm?StoryID=178160

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