NRCM isn't working in Maine's best interest

NRCM isn't working in Maine's best interest

The Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM) has earned a reputation for protecting the environment and the people of Maine.

It has championed wind power development, delayed Plum Creek's plan in Greenville and removed dams from Maine's rivers in recent years. These actions have had an impact Maine's economy.

To this columnist, the staff and board members of the NRCM seem to have lost their way. It appears they have gone from protecting Maine's environment and people to harming them.

This can't be good.

Leader in Wind Power Development

The NRCM's 2008 annual report boasts that the organization helped produce a plan "to make Maine a leader in wind power development, ensure Maine people receive tangible benefits, and protect Maine's quality of place."

Because of this plan, an estimated 15,000 to 40,000 acres of Maine's most beautiful and essential mountain top wildlife habitat will be destroyed by industrial wind developers.

Is a plan that causes permanent destruction of fragile mountain-top habitat protecting Maine's "quality of place"?

Full implementation of wind power, it is estimated, will double electricity rates.

Is a plan that threatens high-paying, high-tech jobs at world-class semiconductor manufacturers by driving up utility rates leadership?

Few jobs are being created, and according to the Maine Revenue Service, few tax revenues will be forthcoming from wind development.

Is a plan that will bring few permanent jobs to Maine, and provide little or no tax revenue, while adding billions to the Federal deficit and debt, "ensuring tangible benefits"?

In Vinalhaven and Mars Hill, harmful mental and physical effects are troubling some citizens.

Is this a plan for protecting the people of Maine?

Delaying Plum Creek's Development Plan

According to the NRCM, Plum Creek's plan "will forever damage one of Maine's most remarkable areas." The NRCM is proud to have delayed Plum Creek's development plan, on procedural grounds, not the validity of the plan.

Plum Creek's plan will disturb only 1,500 acres for homes, buildings and roads, when allowed to move forward.

Compare that to a minimum of 15,000 acres permanently destroyed, and holes literally blasted out of mountainsides to make foundation sites for 25-story industrial wind turbines.

Don't they see contradiction in this?

The Greenville area will gain 975 new homes, 100 rental cabins, two new hotels, a golf course, a new marina, new convenience stores, barber and beauty shops, and gas stations. New sources of tax revenue to the localities and the state are estimated between $25 million and $75 million.

Sounds like good community development to me.

Plum Creek's plan could bring some 500 new permanent jobs, and perhaps over 1,000 temporary jobs, to the Moosehead region, five times what wind power development can claim.

How can they justify delaying jobs for working people in rural Maine?

A long-term conservation easement will be placed on 430,000 acres of forest by Plum Creek's plan as well.

Does NRCM think that stopping the protection of these forests is wrong?

Hydro Electric Compared to Wind Turbines

NRCM pushed for the removal of three hydroelectric dams on the Penobscot River, the removal of the Edward's hydroelectric dam on the Kennebec River, and prevented the building of the Big-A dam on the West Branch of the Penobscot.

Ironically, their work wipes out 200 megawatts of clean renewable energy, and kills some 50 sustainable jobs in Maine.

Comparing the Big-A hydroelectric dam to the similar amount of erratic wind power output is not equal, but I'll do it anyway.

Side-by-side comparison for 40 megawatts: Big-A Hydro, cost $100 million, 20 acres disturbed; Wind power, cost $825 million, 2,500 acres destroyed.

Clearly, putting in the Big-A project would have been much better economically and environmentally for Maine. Ripping out more dams should be reconsidered. Investing the same $825 million in modern fish ladders and modern hydro-turbines is a better idea.

So, the questions begin to mount up.

Why is the NRCM for policies that destroy essential fragile habitat?

Why is the NRCM for industrial policies that hurt Maine economically?

Why is the NRCM for policies that are physically harmful to people and animals?

Why is the NRCM for policies that threaten high-paying high tech jobs at world-class semiconductor manufacturers?

Basing economic and environmental policies on the questionable theory of anthropogenic global warming seems very thin.

These are just a few of the questions the people of Maine need to ask the staff, and the board members of the Natural Resources Council of Maine, and their supporters.

J Dwight is President & Chief Investment Officer of Dwight Investment Counsel, 120 Orchard Dr., Wilton, ME 04294. 207-645-9415.

What do you think of this story?

Login to post comments

In order to make comments, you must create a subscription.

In order to comment on, you must hold a valid subscription allowing access to this website. You must use your real name and include the town in which you live in your profile. To subscribe or link your existing subscription click here.

Login or create an account here.

Our policy prohibits comments that are:

  • Defamatory, abusive, obscene, racist, or otherwise hateful
  • Excessively foul and/or vulgar
  • Inappropriately sexual
  • Baseless personal attacks or otherwise threatening
  • Contain illegal material, or material that infringes on the rights of others
  • Commercial postings attempting to sell a product/item
If you violate this policy, your comment will be removed and your account may be banned from posting comments.



 's picture

NRCM sends that dreadful

NRCM sends that dreadful little eltisit out of state snot Dylan Voorhees around preaching the gospel of this economic and environmental folly.  While promoting industrial wind, he always will say NRCM hasn't taken a position on a certain project then they later endorse every project.  When Voorhees brought his promotion to Lincoln, he was met by a hostile crowd and told them NRCM hadn't decided on the Rollins project of First Wind.  Then one week later, he testified to the DEP in glowing support of the project.  Dylan Voorhees admitted that the only time he had ever been north of Bangor was to go to Baxter Park.  He had never been to the Lincoln Lakes region before he came to town to condemn the 15 beautiful lakes and the rolling ridges to destruction by First Wind.

NRCM, don't lie to us and have some full disclosure.  Maybe even have your Board of Directors sit through a balanced debate on this topic.  Answer one question, NRCM:  How is advocating the blasting away of 350 miles of ridgelines, permanently clearcutting 50,000 or more acres of carbon sequestering forest, and strangling the state in a spiderweb of new transmission lines considered protecting the natural resources of the state?

Bless J. Dwight for his insightful column!

 's picture

Maybe the National Resources

Maybe the National Resources Council of Maine is the new industrial wind lobby. My guess is that the wind companies have contributed LARGE sums of hush money and NRCM is now beholden to them. Maybe the governor has pressured NRCM to align with him. It makes no sense at all that NRCM would fight Plum Creek and hydropower, yet have worked so hard to protect an industry that is bent on destroying so many acres of Maine wildlands. It is confusing to me that this company has been built on the protection of Maine resources and are turning a blind eye to this historic destruction of some of the most beautiful areas in the state. Their mission statement in its first paragraph includes that they are "protecting, restoring, and conserving Maine's environment, now and for future generations. We work to improve the quality of Maine's rivers; ... and to conserve Maine lands."

Please, NRCM explain to me how you can support industrial wind and keep these words in your mission statement. From where I stand, you look like a bunch of hypocrites. 

Why aren't you out there pushing weatherization?

Why aren't you considering these industrial mountain top sites vital in "Maine's quality of place"?

Why do you support an industry that will double Maine's electricity rates and place this burden on our already burdened population? Industrial wind is not good for our economy. 

Get your priorities straight. I once supported you. I will never again.

JOANNE MOORE's picture

Tourism is Maine's largest

Tourism is Maine's largest industry. I wonder how many jobs and how much tax revenue we will be losing because of these horendous wind turbines.

Hunting and fishing also add jobs and tax dollars to our economy. The building of these turbines and the access roads and the high voltage transmission lines will fragment and destroy the habitat needed for deer and other wildlife and the herbicides and silt will polute our waterways, rivers streams and lakes.

Dylan Voorhees and members of the NRCM must be forced to address these issues.

 's picture

Certainly, when Dylan

Certainly, when Dylan Voorhess addressed the people attending the wind debate in Dixfield, He didn't intentionly focus his arguement for wind power almost entirely on increased tax revenue for our small towns, or is this his new approach ? How shameful of you, Dylan. Perhaps for a few bucks, we can slaughter some more of Maine's unique resources. I am at this time denouncing my membership to this organization.


Stay informed — Get the news delivered for free in your inbox.

I'm interested in ...