Carthage residents pose questions about wind farm

CARTHAGE — Several dozen Carthage residents and a few others met at the Community Building on Monday night to learn more about a proposed wind farm on the Saddleback Mountain ridge.

Eileen M. Adams/Sun Journal

Seismologist Rick Groll explains sections of the proposed wind turbine project to Paula Steele and Peter Neverette at Monday's public informational meeting hosted by Patriot Renewables, a Massachusetts company that wants to construct 12 industrial turbines in Carthage.

Eileen M. Adams/Sun Journal

Longtime Carthage resident, Melvin Smith, looks at a map showing where his home is in relation to proposed wind turbines during a public informational meeting hosted by Patriot's Renewables LLC Monday night.

The sessions featured several stations with a variety of experts who work for Patriot Renewables LLC prepared to answer questions ranging from the impact on birds and bats to the sound of turbines.

The public informational meeting was required as part of the permitting process for Quincy, Mass., firm with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

“We are trying to give people the answers they are looking for,” said Tom Carroll, project coordinator for both the Carthage and Dixfield turbine proposals.

Todd Presson, chief operating officer for the wind energy company, said his firm plans to submit the application to the MDEP within the next week or two. He estimates the department will likely need at least six months to review the document.

Proposed is construction of 12 industrial wind turbines, of 2.75 megawatts each, on purchased and leased land. The company has an option to buy or lease about 1,900 acres. Of that amount, Presson said about 127 acres would be cleared for turbine construction, connecting roads, and transmission line routes.

Lindsay Galbraith, assistant project manager, said about 1,300 acres of land owned by Edmund and Donna Berry, Jacquelind Vanover, Joe and Wayne Buck, and Betsy Mancine are under contract for purchase.

In addition, the wind company also has lease options for another 600 or so acres owned by Phill McIntyre, Mike and Dave Gill and Clinton Bradbury.

She provided additional information about the project that includes:

* About seven miles of easements from approximately the Winter Hill Road to a possible other wind turbine project on Canton Mountain for transmission lines, many of which would be built underground;

* A possible Canton project that would call for construction of seven to nine turbines on leased property. The Carthage and Dixfield wind projects would share the same substation.

Melvin Smith, a South Carthage resident, said he had lived in Carthage all his life and had looked at the ridge and mountains. “I want to know what's going on. Seeing the towers on the ridges would be upsetting,” he said.

Paula Steele, another South Carthage resident, said she wasn't necessarily opposed to wind farms, but she was concerned about what she might see and hear for the rest of her life.

“I would think the smart thing to do would be to wait for more information,” she said.

Philip Hill said seeing the towers wouldn't bother him. He was at the session to learn where the lines would be built underground.

“If I don't want to see them, I can just turn my head,” he said.

Also in favor of wind development was Donna Berry, one of the landowners with property under option.

“It's about time we had wind power. Europe has been using it for years. It's the future, with water and solar. Everyone wants clean power and not be captives to foreign oil. It would be sad not to let this opportunity go through,” she said.

Whether American Recovery Act monies were being used was a concern of Joann Rogers. She wants to know where the money is coming from and whether taxpayer money is involved.

Mike Palmer and Chrystal Canney were concerned that hydraulic fluid in the turbines could pollute the area. And Mexico resident, Albert Aniel, said 10 more homes will hear noise they hadn't heard before.

Engineers, sound experts, wetlands experts, visual engineers, wildlife experts and others displayed maps of the targeted area with designations for each specific concern.

Presson said he expects the MDEP to hold a public hearing on the proposed project in about two months.

Patriot Renewables had planned to build several additional turbines on an adjacent 320 acres believed for decades to be owned by the town, then lease that land from the town. A determination on whether that land is owned by the town or a descendant of the original owner is still in court.

eadams@sunjournal.com

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Comments

 's picture

good grief

Why do people say the same stuff over and over? Windsprawl is not working well in Europe. Often it is shunted away and cannot be sold because nobody wants the problem of integrating it into their grid . Too erratic and destabilizing. It is job security for the Ivy Leaguers though trying to modulate things ang play with energy like Enron did years ago. I guess people largely forgot. Remember Enron? They cost the people of California over 30 billion dollars with their energy trading fiasco. That is developing again on the East Coast. Windsprawl is never beautiful. It defiles nature. It disrupts the ecology. "If I don't want to see them ,I'll turn my head" is a bizarre notion. They cannot be ignored. They are a distraction and there will be nowhere in the state to go to get away from them. What if you turn your head and just see more wind turbines? There are 2 more people in Freedom selling their homes to the windscammers because they cannot stand to live there and cannot sell their homes on the market. Who in their right mind would buy a house when it is so loud and shakey your family can't sleep? I thought Mainers would stand together against an industry which is such an obvious scam. Either many Mainers only care about themselves or they do not want to bother researching the truth. The developers came snooping around Lincoln and many told them to get off their property. Sadly some got greedy. If people would stick together these schiesters would go back to Mass.

 's picture

Been to Mars Hill

Well, it is said beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so MelnMaine can believe whatever about a structure that is twice as tall as the tallest building in Maine being on a ridge top. I've been to Mars Hill. I skied at Big Rock and could hear the turbines over the clanking of the old chairlift (and that old one is noisy!) and I had a liner plus my helmet on (it was a cold January day). When the ski area operates, the turbine closest to the chairlift unloading area is shut down as a prudent precaution. The rumor about them being closed down in the winter applies only to ice storms, as uneven icing on the blades can damage them. They also have to be careful when starting back up to avoid ice throw, which did happen on East Ridge Road. About a three foot long, 6 inch thick icicle landed in the front yard of a couple with children. They kept it in their freezer to give to the DEP, but, of course, DEP did nothing.

That January day the wind up on the mountain was steady, but less than 20 mph. I know that because 20 mph is when the chairlift becomes unsafe and is put on wind hold. Everywhere I went on East Ridge Rd and Mountain Rd was the omnipresent sound of a low flying jet that never leaves. The project was in violation of its license at 45 dBA and the DEP responded to complaints from residents by not telling First Wind to make adjustments; rather, they provided a variance of 5 dBA to 50 dBA. While this 5dBA may seem like a small figure, the DEP in fact gave an extraordinary gift to First Wind, to the detriment of the humans and wildlife. Whether one uses the Loudness Multiplier Theory (Stevens) that says an increase of 10 dBA is a doubling of noise, or the more recently developed Amplitude Multiplier Theory (Warren) that says an increase of 6 dBA is a doubling of noise, the fact is, 5 dBA is a large increase in allowable noise.

I stood in one yard and measured the dBA noise. The meter was one that meets ANSI standards that is recognized in court. The measurements skittered consistently between 48 and 56 dBA. It was loud and relentless noise. I could never live with it. Mars Hill is as remote as Carthage or the other hamlets in the area that are targeted by industrial wind. People live there for the beauty, now marred by huge industrial machines on the ridge. They live there for the peace and quiet, now relentlessly disturbed by roaring turbines. They live there for the clear dark night sky, now lit up with strobing aviation lights. They live there for love of birds and wildlife, now all fled due to their sensitivity to the other form of noise, dBC scale low frequency infrasound. People live there for happiness and wellbeing, but Dr. Michael Nissenbaum has documented an array of turbine related health problems.

Carthage folks, this is what you get when you let a sprawling industrial wind site locate in your community. Just ask the 18 people on East Ridge Rd and Mountain Rd in Mars Hill, who have sued First Wind. So, MelnMaine, do you still think these turbines in Mars Hill are so beautiful?

 's picture

ice throw

how far away was the ice throw? how far away from turbine does this family live?
again, Carthage town government let this LLC (limited liability; 1 million in insurance coverage) in. I hope a petition from the voters lets the voters back in.
one vote was 43-48 jeezzz if i were town government, i would ask again.
on well, back to educating.

 's picture

oil spill

do you know how much oil circulates in these turbines?

 's picture

Been to Mars Hill?

The windmills are far from an eyesore. They are quiet and majestic. Painted white as they are, they actually blend in with the sky and the clouds, they are not ugly at all. Beats a spewing fiery oil rig any day of the week. We need alternate sources of power people. And YES, I would allow them in my back yard, had I a place where the wind blows all the time. I would love to be able to harness natural power, instead of being dependent upon foreign oil, or on resources within the US that AREN'T renewable, or that cause major amounts of damage when things go wrong. The environment NEVER recovers from an oil spill.

 's picture

Be careful what you wish for

Perhaps with any luck, you will be close to an industrial wind installation someday. If you live near a ridgeline that's going in the right direction, there's a good chance of it. It's not just the wind turbines, it's what is done to these mountains in order to erect the turbines. We're talking about a fundamental change to what we know and love about western Maine. As many others seem to do, you are thinking about this (I assume) as ONE project rather than dozens of projects all located fairly close to each other in one region. Can you not imagine the cumulative effect when one ridgeline after another has been altered with 40 story tall buildings?

Seriously, as opposed as I am to wrecking this part of our state, if I really thought that these projects would stop the next oil spill, reduce my reduction of oil usage, send the troops home...I really think I could come around IF they did not hurt people or wildlife. But no one who is pro-wind has been able to show me the data of how exactly this is happening. There are areas out west and in the mid-west just littered with these things and they did not stop the last oil spill. And these mountains will NEVER recover from being blasted, either.

Also, there are quite a few families (I've lost track--over a dozen anyway) in Mars Hill who live within an unsafe range embroiled in a lawsuit over the damage to their lives. Personally, the last thing I want in my life is a legal battle. I just want peace and quiet. I really, really doubt that folks living in a rural area like that were just WAITING for an opportunity to sue someone. It's not they bought a house next to a railway or a airport and THEN started complaining. What kind of a person would just disregard his fellow Mainers like that?

A poster said yesterday that the turbines are SHUT DOWN in winter on Mars Hill for safety reasons. I have not verified that, but it would be worth checking into.

 's picture

Same old

“We are trying to give people the answers they are looking for,” said Tom Carroll, project coordinator for both the Carthage and Dixfield turbine proposals.

Which is distinctly different from the truth.

 's picture

CITIZEN'S PETITION FOR WIND ORDINANCE VOTE

How many times must a citizen petition be presented to the Carthage Town Government before they will recognize their responsibilities to their citizens ?

 's picture

Laughable

The Berry clan has never done anything positive for the environment. One only has to climb a hill/mountain and look down at their handiwork to see that. This is about the money. Silly to pretend otherwise this late in the game.

 's picture

Jealousy

It sure sounds like a lot of "sour grapes" to me. If all these nay-sayers had worked half as hard as the Berry's have , they would be all for the wind mills. None of this property was left to the Berrys. They worked, earned the money and bought it. So they logged the land. That is what loggers do.They sold the wood, to heat your home, to paper mills for your newspapers, etc. Jealousy takes many different avenues. Quotes unverified and it is all green with envy.

 's picture

To be really honest, Pepper

I'm not jealous of the Berrys. I'm not anti-logging ("some of my best friends are loggers") but I am for responsible logging and management. I do not live in Carthage, but I live closeby. I did live there at one time. Carthage has been the butt of jokes for many years around here, but I always defended that town. Some of my happiest memories are right there. It is a beautiful place. I've canoed the Webb River, I've hiked/snowshoed all around. I've appreciated the wildlife. I've enjoyed extremely quiet, cold, snowy nights.

I am not making fun of the Berry's for wanting to make money off their land. While I am opposed to this project, I understand they have a legal right to sell/lease their land. I guess you COULD say I'm jealous of anyone who owns acreage in Carthage. If I had the money to own and maintain land there with good stewardship, then I would have loved that. But not anymore. Not with this development coming. I wish more folks in Carthage could see their incredible land as a potential for conservation that could bring real pride to the town. I would happily pay a fee to recreate on it, though I could not afford to buy it. I understand there are taxes to be paid and that folks need the money. But I would have to be destitute to sell land like that to a wind company and even then, not sure I could do it...

I hope that when all these projects go up, those in favor are satisfied with the deals they've made. But you can't take it with you.

~Lisa

 's picture

I should add

for what it's worth and to be clear...that we were looking at land in south Carthage until we learned of this project. We could not buy as much as the Berry's have, of course, but it would have been something. We are a survey of one, but I can tell you that we are one family for whom the land in Carthage is now devalued due to this wind project. We don't want to pay property taxes there (and as non-residents we would have no input) and we don't want to be in close proximity to the turbines.

 's picture

READ

We don't OWN land in Carthage. I said we were looking to BUY land in Carthage before this mess started. We are no longer interested in purchasing property in that town because the land no longer holds value for us. Go back and read what I said.
It would be DUMB to buy property in south Carthage now.

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