Carter, King clash over wind power project

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A former Green Independent Party candidate for governor exchanged charges of greed and hypocrisy Wednesday with a former governor who's promoting a 128-megawatt wind power project in Somerset County.

Building 48 wind turbines in Highland Plantation would require blasting of 1.6 million cubic yards of rock and dirt, decimate fragile alpine terrain and generate visual and noise pollution all while failing to reduce greenhouse emissions, said Jonathan Carter, director of the Forest Ecology Network.

Former independent Maine Gov. Angus King, one of the Highland Wind LLC business partners, said the project carries an environmental impact but that it's more benign than oil, gas, coal or nuclear power. It would create enough clean energy for about 54,000 homes, or all the homes in Franklin, Piscataquis and Somerset counties.

King also took a jab at his former political foe in the 1994 gubernatorial race, saying the environmentally minded Carter was supportive of wind power until a project was proposed near his home.

Carter, who lives about 3.5 miles from the turbines, responded by calling King a "mountain-slayer and a profiteer." He said he's not against wind power, but he's against large projects that destroy mountaintops: "Industrial mountaintop wind, wherever you put it, is a disaster."

The war of words began with a news conference at Portland City Hall by the Friends of Highland Mountains, which has created a DVD outlining its opposition.

Carter described the construction of wind turbines on mountain ridges as "Maine's version of mountaintop removal." And he said there would be no reduction in greenhouse gases because carbon-emitting power plants would have to be kept running and on standby for times when the wind isn't blowing.

Furthermore, he said the turbine towers with blinking lights would be built in the face of the Bigelow Preserve and could be seen by hikers on the Appalachian Trail.

"I'll buy him a bus ticket to West Virginia, where they're tearing mountains to the ground to feed our fossil fuel addiction," King retorted. He said there would be a "1-to-1" reduction in greenhouse gases because existing plants would be throttled back whenever the turbines are in operation.

He said the remoteness of the site is part of its appeal. He said there only two vacation homes a half-mile from the turbines and that other homes are at least a mile away, reducing the impact.

Maine is currently the leader in New England when it comes to wind power, with 432 megawatts of wind power either in operations or under construction. Large projects already in operation include TransCanada's Kibby Mountain, First Wind's Mars Hill, and First Wind's Stetson I and Stetson II.

Central Maine Power is beginning a five-year upgrade of the power grid to make it more reliable and to increase capacity for future wind power projects.

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Comments

Brad Blake's picture

King is a Hypocrite

Angus King is the biggest hypocrite in Maine. In her post, Monique Aniel reminds of the oratory of King when the state preserved magnificent Tumbledown with TAXPAYER money. When he was Governor, King never let a photo op or sound bite go by without extolling the beauty of Maine, the "special places" that were preserved, a veritable walking talking tourism ad. Now, he has turned into a self serving TAX SUBSIDY swine. He wants to destroy Maine's mountains in Roxbury and Highland Plt with sprawling industrial wind sites so he can be a pig at the wind subsidy trough. His two projects that entail blasting away mountain tops to install 400 foot tall turbines will destroy the viewshed of the Mahoosuc Public Reserved Land, Tumbledown, the Bigelow Preserve, Mt. Blue State Park, and miles of the Appalachian Trail---all "special places" supposedly preserved, by taxpayer money, for all the citizens. Shame on you, Mr. King, you arrogant hypocrite! Destroying such a large swath of our beautiful state for your personal gain is despicable!

Monique Aniel's picture

which one do you want as your legacy Angus King

In September 2002 then governor A. King said :"Today nearly 12000 acres of forest land ,including a pristine alpine pond at its summit ( Tumbledown) have been protected forever .
Maine citizens will benefit for generations to come from the legacy we are leaving behind".
Those were his words at the announcement of the permanent conservation of over 12000 acres of beautiful Western Maine Mountains's landscape, including the peak of Tumbledown amongst many other mountain tops , recreation trails and habitat for declining species.
What kind of speech will he prepare when he defaces the Bigelow Range and the Record Hill summits ?
Only fools do not change their minds when they realize the absurdity , enormity and uselessness of what they do .
Only greed allows you to change your principles to suit your private pursuit .
In 2002 legacy meant preservation of the mountain tops ,
In 2010 legacy means destruction of the same ,,

Karen  Pease's picture

News bytes on Industrial Wind

It is a common misconception which you have, CommonSense, but I am pleased to see that you are getting involved in the dialogue regarding moutaintop industrial wind. Mr. Carter freely admits that he once supported the concept of wind power. Most Mainers did and still do. But the concept and the realities are very, very different. Most people believe that because the wind blows free and doesn't have the negative issues of radioactive waste like nuclear, or the pollution and supply issues like fossil fuel, that it must be good... and "green". And our government and industrial wind developers use that misconception to their advantage, selling their misguided energy plan to an unquestioning public.

If industrial wind power actually DID what the developers say it does, and if its positives-- to the environment, the economy, the energy situation-- outweighed its negatives, we would ALL support it. We would be foolish not to. But once we took the time to research the issue and learn the FACTS-- not the hype or innuendo and not the feel-ggod tag lines that King and other developers throw out-- we realized that there is, in all honesty, very little that's redeemable about mountaintoip industrial wind in Maine. From the state's official wind maps, to the biologists, to the economists to the scientists...they all say the same thing. Those with nothing to gain and much to lose are stepping forward and telling us that mountaintop industrial wind DOES NOT DO what the industry says it will do. And the numbers they consistently quote are based on RATED capacity, not actual production. The two are far, far removed from one another. No, CommonSense... once Mainers began to do research into this topic, the cover was blown off the wind energy plan. It is a subsidized feel-good plan to create unreliable and intermittent power which Maine doesn't need and which will not stay in this state. It will be many times more expensive than the hydro power we could purchase from Canada-- if we needed it, which we don't. It will have long-lasting environmental and economic impacts.. from tourism to real estate values to wildlife to erosion and water quality issues. The list is long. So please, don't discount citizens' concerns without knowing the facts. It takes a brave man to admit when he is wrong, and I've seen many friends change their stances on wind energy once they learned the facts... and admit that where they once supported the concept, they now vehemently oppose the realities of industrial wind. The truth is out there, and hundreds of Mainers are learning of it every week. I hope you'll take the time to have a serious look into the topic. And I'd be happy to provide you with resources to do exactly that. A good place to start is www.highlandmts.org. Respectfully submitted, Karen Pease, Lexington Twp. P.S. The Friends of the Highland Mountains are NOT against responsible wind generation, but on an individual or community-based level... where the turbines are smaller and have little or no 'footprint' or sound issues, and where the electricity generated is used by its hosts.

Rob Pforzheimer's picture

Hitting home

For most people it is when one of these wind projects is proposed near their home that they look more closely at what is involved and realize how environmentally destructive and ineffective industrial wind is. They also realize that without grants, subsidies, tax credits and other giveaways of our tax dollars, and our grandchildrens tax dollars that no one would build these useless inefficient, unreliable, loud, strobe lit monsters anywhere.
The claims made by wind developers are unproven and unverifiable. Wind towers will become oil leaking monuments to stupidity, gullibility and greed.
In the not too distant future, proponents of this folly will look back and think, "How could we have been so STUPID."

 's picture

Nothing but a NIMBY

Jonathan Carter was a huge proponant of wind power until it was going into his back yard, can we al say NIMBY with all capital letters. Jonathan, wind power was good for Maine and good for the environment before it was proposed for your backyard and it is good for Maine and good for the environment IN your backyard. It is also good for the environment and good for Maine in my backyard.

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