As a Wind Power Advisory Committee member, I wish to address questions surrounding the ordinance recently presented to Rumford’s Board of Selectmen.
WPAC’s goal in crafting this ordinance was the health and safety of Rumford’s citizens. WPAC did not target First Wind; we addressed any potential wind power project in Rumford. WPAC’s meetings are open to the public, meeting minutes are posted on Rumford’s website, and there has been coverage in the media.
The board has questioned proposed setback and noise limits, and why we did not follow the state’s “standard model.” We chose Dixmont’s ordinance as a starting point because it was the most protective. These limits are in line with the World Health Organization’s European section, where a long history of wind development has provided ample opportunity to discover where health-impacting mistakes were made.
Bottom line: The proposed ordinance is not anti-wind; it is pro-Rumford.
When Maine Revenue Services presented the WPAC an $80 million model, it showed minimal property tax benefit to Rumford. First Wind’s proposed project is $60M (25 percent less); the tax benefits would very likely be less as well.
Finally, First Wind’s often angry tone is winning no friends in this debate. I am pro-wind but dismayed by First Wind’s consistent inability to present a rational and detailed explanation of the presumed benefits of a wind power project in the River Valley. As a citizen of Rumford, I am quite turned off by its attitude.
Charles Hoff, Rumford