Activists block Kibby wind site

EUSTIS — A young Minnesota woman, participating Tuesday in an Earth First! protest of the TransCanada Kibby Mountain wind power project, was arrested after locking herself to a tractor-trailer carrying a 5-ton turbine blade to the site.

Logan Perkins photo

Willow Cordes-Eklund, 26, of Earth First! is locked to the underside of a truck bound for Kibby Mountain. The Minneapolis woman was arrested and charged with failure to disperse, along with three other Earth First! members. 

Willow Cordes-Eklund
submitted photo

Willow Cordes-Eklund, of Minneapolis, was released on $500 bail from the Franklin County Dentention Center on Wednesday.

Logan Perkins photo

Willow Cordes-Eklund uses a bicycle U-Lock to secure herself to the underside of a flatbed truck carrying a blade for an industrial wind turbine bound for Kibby Mountain. The truck was stopped in the middle of Route 27 in Eustis for about a half-hour. 

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Terry Karkos/Sun Journal

A picnic table is secured with ropes and straps, set up so environmental activists could practice their climbing skills to hang banners or hold a "tree sit," Ryan Clarke of Maine Earth First! said last week.

According to Maine Earth First! spokeswoman Emily Posner, two members of the group stopped the truck at about 1 p.m. on Route 27 about a mile south of the Kibby project, where the woman took a U-lock, commonly used to lock a bicycle, slipped it around her neck and locked herself to the truck.

Logan Perkins of Eddington, Maine, who supervised the demonstration for Earth First!, said Willow Cordes-Eklund, 26, of Minneapolis locked herself to a cable beneath the truck's trailer. She was there for about a half-hour before Maine State Police cut the cable and charged her with failure to disperse.

She remained at the Franklin County Detention Center Tuesday night; her bail was set at $500.

Cordes-Eklund was one of four Earth First! environmental activists arrested Tuesday. Erik Gillard, 26, of Montpelier, Vt., and Ana Rodriquez, 29, of Lake Worth, Fla., also were charged with failure to disperse. As Cordes-Eklund was locking herself to the truck, Gillard and Rodriquez talked to the driver, told him what Cordes-Eklund was doing and asked him not to move the vehicle.

Courtney Butcher, 25, of Pine River, Minn., was also charged with failure to disperse after police asked her to move across Route 27 from the Kibby access road.

As of Tuesday night, only Rodriquez had posted bail, according to a jail official.

Maine State Police, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department and the U.S. Border Patrol were at the Kibby site before dawn this morning, when dozens of protesters blocked the road to the construction site.

The protest was organized the day before the Land Use Regulation Commission was to meet in Bangor to deliberate TransCanada’s $100 million proposal to site 15 more wind turbines in the mountains in northern Franklin County. The commission conducted a two-day hearing on the proposal in May. The hearing included a site visit to Kibby Mountain to see the turbines in operation and to consider the impact of 4.7 miles of new road construction at the potential new site on Sisk Mountain.

According to Perkins, protesters plan to attend the LURC meeting Wednesday to continue their active protest of the Kibby and Sisk mountain projects.

Police said the morning protest was peaceful, but a number of Earth First! members were issued trespass notices after TransCanada representatives asked them to leave the property and the protesters refused.

State Police Lt. Don Pomelow said protesters arrived at the Kibby site around 5 a.m., many walking up the private access road to the site. He called the protesters “fairly peaceful” in the early hours, as did TransCanada spokeswoman LeAnne LeBlanc, who said work continued on-site without interruption.

Pomelow estimated the number of protesters to be about 30, but Earth First! said about 50 people gathered in protest at Gold Brook Road.

According to Franklin County Chief Deputy Ray Meldrum, law enforcement officers from a number of departments spent long hours over the weekend patrolling potential Earth First! demonstration target spots, including TransCanada, Plum Creek and Poland Spring sites.

“There are multiple places that are potential for problems,” Meldrum said.

Cameron Lorrain, plant manager for Poland Spring’s Kingfield operation, said he was not aware of any members of Earth First! attempting to demonstrate at the plant. “We are operating under normal operating procedures here,” he said.

TransCanada is building 22 wind turbines on mountains near where it has already built 22 turbines that are producing power. Maine Earth First! says projects like TransCanada's destroy mountaintops and don't offset fossil-fuel use.

Tuesday afternoon, Posner said the group’s blockade was a demonstration of members’ “beliefs of no compromise of Mother Earth,” raising awareness of their concern that the TransCanada project is not about green energy but is about shareholder profits and tax subsidies.

“The Earth continues to get sacrificed for shareholder profit,” Posner said.

Perkins, who said the protest Tuesday lasted about 6½ hours, said, "It was a really important moment for Earth First! to take a strong stand against industrial wind power. Most environmental groups in this country are sort of blindly following the solution trail that corporate energy has laid out for us."

She explained that Earth First! has a no-compromise stance and believes wind power is a “false solution to climate change.”

"We need to really address our bigger picture, lifestyle and consumption issues, and not just install mega-wind projects so Maine can sell wind energy to Boston,” Perkins said.

Tuesday's protest was held a day after the end of Earth First!'s annual week-long international summer gathering in Coplin Plantation. Posner said plans for the Kibby blockade were developed during the group’s encampment on Basil and Harriet Powers' land on the banks of the Dead River.

Earth First!, founded in 1979, is an international extremist environmental group that has frequently clashed with the law as members carry out their mission to challenge what they see as threats to the environment.

Staff writer Donna Perry contributed to this report.

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Comments

 's picture

Simple solution

[This comment has been removed my the administrator]

 's picture

What are you talking about

What are you talking about when you say Plum Creek is lying to people regarding right of public access? What has come into question? Is it the fact that your group was trespassing...and you didn't like that? What makes you so right when you say high altitude land was never meant to be developed? Who has the Great Book of Development and since you seem to be well versed in it, what book and page does it have this right? That's right...it doesn't exsist. Your organization is a bunch of eco-terrorists. Maybe the best thing is if all of the people who feel this way could practice what they preach (revert to living in cabins off the power grid and live like Grizzly Adams) the reduction in consumption would make a difference.

 's picture

Wind is not practical

At this point in time, wind power has not been developed to the point that it is practical. It is very expensive, and it takes an awful lot of turbines to make a dent in our power grid.

Also, it cant power cars or airplanes so we still need oil for that. Basically, the only thing wind power would help with is coal consumption in power plants. And right now, it would take a huge quantity of wind turbines to make even the smallest difference.

I hope at some point the technology advances to the point that wind is a viable replacement for coal, but we arent there yet. I believe that all of this wind talk is politically motivated, just make it look like we are doing something.

We need more hydro and nuclear power.

 's picture

lock her up

Lock up that carpetbagger from Away

 's picture

Wind Power

We need an alternative - wind is easy to capture - especially in certain places like high mountain tops and on the coast. I am sick of paying high oil & gas prices - with a tax that is supposed to fix our roads but can't keep up because the state robs it for the general budget - If wind power is clean and efficient why are we so against it? For you out there opposing the agencies that are bringing it to us, did you propose a business plan to the area towns like they did? No, because you either don't have the engineering knowledge or the ambition - so stop whining!

 's picture

place the turbine wind mills

place the turbine wind mills out at sea, or try tidal power...place solar panels on the blades of the wind mills to double the capacity....put the terrorist on treadmills to power the lights

 's picture

Old Bill, these folks have no

Old Bill, these folks have no lives. They are against anything and everything. They happen to be the pitiful souls who have no intelligent friends, no sexual experiences with members of the opposite sex, and need something to bond with even if that bond is with other bungholes like temselves.

 's picture

Tomorrow these protesters

Tomorrow these protesters plan on protesting 'port-a-potty's' by camping under the seats of those devices. And sucking it all up!

 's picture

30% is power

So if 70% is currently transportation that means 30% of oil consumption is power we could wipe out with wind or atleast we could keep from adding more of the ever increasing demand for power to oil generation. Than of course we can also dent transportation since we can go to plug-in cars that are not just long tailpipes with the power for them coming from toxic burning power plants but wind generators. I am for that too. I think we have a winner with wind.

 's picture

mitigation

transcanada bought this mountain when they put up mitigaion money.
senator collins is proud of the fact she traded this mountain for a mountain in Newry .
bethel area depends on pristene mountain tops from the Sunday River Ski perspective.

mitigation? kill wetlands in Kibby save a wet land somewhere
earth first people; how do i meet you?

 's picture

wind oil

70% fossil fuel consumed in transportation. Does a wind mill help?

 's picture

wind/oil wind/oil wind/oil

Wind power no polution/ oil from the gulf big mess/ wind power no polution/ oil from the gulf big mess. I will take wind power thank you. And even if we are not closing a plant, we are burning less or we wont be building more toxic monsters. Build wind.

 's picture

feed them a nice organic meat

feed them a nice organic meat free meal, then kick their butts back to where they came from!

 's picture

Trust

DO NOT trust the terrorists as they will be back when you least expect them.

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