Rumford wind ordinance defeated

RUMFORD — It's official and apparently back to the drawing board for selectmen.

Terry Karkos/Sun Journal

Rumford resident Rita Aromaa stands on Memorial Bridge over the Androscoggin River early Tuesday afternoon trying to influence voters headed to the polls to vote down the proposed wind ordinance. Aromaa was joined by several other anti-wind ordinance supporters along the bridge and on Canal Street and Route 108.

Terry Karkos/Sun Journal

Rumford wind ordinance supporter J. Arthur Boivin of Rumford stands on Memorial Bridge along Portland Street on Tuesday hoping to influence voters headed to the polls just down the street at the American Legion hall. Before the polls opened at 9 a.m., Boivin said he posted several more Vote Yes signs in town.

Terry Karkos/Sun Journal

Using a handmade sign, anti-wind ordinance supporter Mahala Patrick of Rumford Center stands along Route 108 opposite Canal Street on Tuesday afternoon, hoping to convince voters headed to Rumford's polls to defeat the ordinance. Patrick said she doesn't want wind turbines on town hills, because she's worried about potential adverse health effects attributed to wind farms.

The proposed wind ordinance was defeated by a tally of 696-582, Town Manager Carlo Puiia said shortly before midnight on Tuesday.

"The people came out and voted and we always have to respect how the legislative body speaks," he said.

"So the board has to respect those numbers and go from there."

He said he believes the issue will be discussed further at a future meeting, but when that will be scheduled isn't yet clear.

"Somebody could consider that it is of an urgent nature," Puiia said.

"However, based on the moratorium, which is good through July, it probably will wait for another agenda."

"And I think the new board will agree to that, that they may not be prepared to broach that subject," he said.

"So, possibly this will give all the board members ample time to weigh in and maybe consider what that next step will be, if there is a next step."

Additionally, he said town officials will now have to wait to hear from Boston-based wind developer First Wind if Tuesday's defeat kills their interest in still pursuing a $65 million wind farm on Rumford hills.

The current moratorium on wind projects expires on July 25.

The first proposed ordinance, largely believed to be a permanent moratorium on wind farms, was defeated at the Nov. 2 polls by a tally of 1,339 to 1,048.

Selectmen started work on a second proposal, and then dumped that in favor of Selectman Jeff Sterling's rewrite in late April of the defeated ordinance.

The board then held a rare Sunday workshop last month and went through nearly every page of Sterling's 26-page draft.

At a subsequent meeting, the board then voted everything in, mostly by 3-2 tallies with Sterling, Adley and Selectman Mark Belanger approving and Selectmen Greg Buccina and Jeremy Volkernick dissenting.

The proposal was expedited onto the June town meeting warrant rather than wait for a special town meeting or November ballot attempt.

Authors of the first proposal and Buccina and Volkernick claimed the new ordinance caters to wind developers and wouldn't protect the town.

They asked voters not to accept it, saying it needs to be reworked.

The new proposal's backers said otherwise, that it allows and regulates such development, and is more stringent than that of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

Whether they had any effect on the outcome or not, there was no shortage of people or signs all day Tuesday telling residents how to vote on the proposed wind ordinance.

Throughout balloting hours between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m., people on both sides of the issue held signs urging Yes or No votes.

They stood on both sides of Memorial Bridge and at the lower end of Canal Street and Route 108 trying to catch the attention of voters headed to the polls at the American Legion hall on upper Congress Street.

Dixfield resident Alice Barnett brought several of her large paintings depicting area landscapes marked with many stark white wind turbines and lined the panels along the bridge where she stood holding Vote No signs.

Wind ordinance supporters J. Arthur Boivin and Kay Rand of Rumford and a few others held Vote Yes signs for most of the day.

A red van strategically parked along the Route 2 rotary and a pickup truck parked on lower Canal Street sported large handwritten signs urging No votes.

Additionally, evidence remained throughout town of last week's rampant vandalism of First Wind's Vote Yes signs.

Using red paint, the vandal or vandals spraypainted a large NO over the YES on several of the blue and white signs sometime during the night of June 7 or early morning of June 8.

That happened the day after someone stole 50 of the signs, Boivin said.

That's why he said he waited until early Tuesday morning to place many more signs along Rumford roads so they, too, wouldn't be stolen or vandalized.

tkarkos@sunjournal.com

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Comments

Mike DiCenso's picture

?

Property rights are not just for big landowners. If you have a swimming pool, you may need a fence around it for safety and to comply with zoning. That is reasonable. If your neighbor wants to raise a dozen pigs, you have rights as an abutter to breathe clean air even if the neighbor thinks pigs smell beautiful. Zoning protects you. If someone wants 500 ft. tall turbines flopping around depreciating your property value,making audible noise and infrasound, your property rights trump theirs to do as they please. It is all about being reasonable and respecting your neighbors. All of the communities were happier and got along better before the wind wolves came knocking.

Mike DiCenso's picture

windsprawl

I am glad Rumford stepped up to protect the citizens. Sadly, the legislature dropped the ball, although the support for citizens' property rights is coming around. Several were convinced there are major problems when wind turbines are sited too close to peoples'homes when before they had not even considered it. I was surprised how many just want to believe the lobbyists!! We have to question wild unsubstantiated claims even if the claimant is very well dressed and well spoken. Most of them are lawyers after all and that is what they are trained to do. It is once again up to the people to zone for themselves as the lawmakers are not quite ready to do so. Rumford is to be commended but I wish there had been a wider margin. It tells me many have not dug in to find the truth of the industry's claims. When all is said and done, there is a large part of the community which wants protection for the citizens. What is wrong with that?

Alice Barnett's picture

mighty andro

power power everywhere, not a drop to waste

Brad Blake's picture

Wind is a State-wide issue

Mr. Fallon, it doesn't help to mock Dr. Gary Steinberg. The man not only has academic bona fides that most people involved with wind issues, pro or con, do not, he has the first hand experience of the Rollins Project in Lincoln and the deceit, lies, and manipulations of First Wind. He is like the Paul Revere of those who understand the wind industry and its agenda, striving to warn people about the reality behind the wind hype. Bully for him! And congratulations to the people of Rumford and the rest of the River Valley region for trying to shape their own destiny, for there are major issues at stake.

Since when is blowing up,leveling, and scalping mountains considered "environmental protection"?

Since when does it equally protect residents of a town to select some to be subjected to deleterious effects of low frequency sound waves, disorienting shadow flicker, and relentless audible noise. Does the wind industry have more rights than residents?

Since when is mandating an ever increasing use of the most costly and least efficient form of electricity generation good public policy?

Since when does it make sense to continue extraordinarily high subsidization (subsidy per mwh) from taxpayers when we run trillion dollar deficits every year and impose REC's as hidden carbon taxes on ratepayers?

If this state actually allows the build out of the number of wind turbines to meet its arbitrarily set goal of 2700 MW installed capacity by 2020, hundreds of miles of the beautiful mountain ridges across the state will bristle with nearly 2,000 forty story wind turbines, all turning by the vagueries of weather, maybe putting out 675 MW (@25% capacity factor) of unpredictable, unreliable electricity. Its bad economics and bad public policy that many Mainers are coming to realize. That is why the debate going on in Rumford is a state-wide issue. That's why people like Dr. Steinberg and myself lend a voice based on substantial research and a huge amount of actual experience.

Brad Blake's picture

Mean spirited

Mr. McCaffrey, your comments today are awfully mean spirited. Is this just what it is all about? A few landowners locally making money by allying themselves with First Wind? I say shame on First Wind for spending money on 2 political campaigns to try to have its way in a town that clearly is divided over whether or not to be a host community. Also, you should know that what First Wind will pay the handfull of landowners where turbines might go is a pittance compared to the total amount per turbine that they will make. I say if you are going to offer to ruin the land where a sprawling wind site is located, the price should be far greater than the standard under which First Wind operates. They must sit in their Boston office and laugh at the desperate local people in Maine who sell out so easily.

As far as people in Rumford go, I applaud them for taking time to get this right, as it is one of those issues that changes communities. Unfortunately, Rumford is showing the classic case that happens to every community where the wind industry tries to push in; communities are clearly divided over an array of issues being a host community to industrial scale wind brings out. This may surprise you, Mr. McCaffrey, but there may be a sense of farness among the good citizens in Rumford that every resident deserves protection from the impact of noisy, forty story tall wind turbines and that no resident's rights to live peacefully in their home should be considered expendable. They were here before First Wind came to town.

Gary Steinberg's picture

The laws of Rumford are for all , they are for everyone!

It is good to see you are hitting the self-servers Rumford!
They are Upset, YOU BET, and TOUGH!
You should be Defiant and Steadfast!

Remember, you are "The Town of Rumford", with laws not for the privileged few, but made for all, and we will all help,from everywhere!

If their dog defecates on your lawn, it IS your business. If the dogs defecate on everyones lawns, it is the all the citizens business.

Wind Industrial Complexes are everyones business!

Is This Syria, Libya, Afghanistan? The self-servers wish it was!
Patriots are proud You Use the Process they bled and died for!
Use it well, it is yours!
Also remember from my earlier posts, there are literally no consequences for wind energy liars, we have no ethics code in Maine!
It is only YOU who can stop this with your rights and laws.

Now remove the self- serving selectmen, and strengthen and protect yourselves with a lock tight ordinance from heinous Industrial Wind.

It is your Right, indeed duty, to protect your back yard!
Use the charter of the town, it is your town, not the privileged self-servers and First Wind.

Rumford has never seen anything like this before have they?

The word is out, and Rumford is making its stand!
Kudos to the Citizens of Rumford!

Kudos to those citizen patriots who helped defeat the scoundrels and self - servers!
You have just cost First Wind more time and more money. Well done!
They will be back, but you will be stronger.
AND OTHERS ARE THERE TO HELP STATEWIDE, we are United!

contact http://www.windtaskforce.org , as well as http://www.celdf.org

Ask for more help , and you will get it . Although First Wind and their minion now give you a respite , they will be back...
....but so Will You..Good Citizens of Rumford!
The more you educate , the more they will come to your side!

Ignorance and perversion of process and greed are their only allies.
Knowledge IS POWER!

Gary Steinberg's picture

IT LOST ! Get used to that fact. Elections have consequences!

The citizens will defeat it again even tho a perverted process will be tried again!
Honor their decision now!
The citizens have spoken twice!
Knowledge is Power. Citizens know the game now, and more are learning every day!
Educating the population will put an end to the self-servers of Rumford and scoundrels of First Wind.

Gary Steinberg's picture

The laws of Rumford are for all , they are for everyone!

It is good to see you are hitting the self-servers Rumford!
They are Upset, YOU BET, and TOUGH!
You should be Defiant and Steadfast!

Remember, you are "The Town of Rumford", with laws not for the privileged few, but made for all, and we will all help,from everywhere!

If their dog defecates on your lawn, it IS your business. If the dogs defecate on everyones lawns, it is the all the citizens business.

Wind Industrial Complexes are everyones business!

Is This Syria, Libya, Afghanistan? The self-servers wish it was!
Patriots are proud You Use the Process they bled and died for!
Use it well, it is yours!
Also remember from my earlier posts, there are literally no consequences for wind energy liars, we have no ethics code in Maine!
It is only YOU who can stop this with your rights and laws.

Now remove the self- serving selectmen, and strengthen and protect yourselves with a lock tight ordinance from heinous Industrial Wind.

It is your Right, indeed duty, to protect your back yard!
Use the charter of the town, it is your town, not the privileged self-servers and First Wind.

Rumford has never seen anything like this before have they?

The word is out, and Rumford is making its stand!
Kudos to the Citizens of Rumford!

Kudos to those citizen patriots who helped defeat the scoundrels and self - servers!
You have just cost First Wind more time and more money. Well done!
They will be back, but you will be stronger.
AND OTHERS ARE THERE TO HELP STATEWIDE, we are United!

contact http://www.windtaskforce.org , as well as http://www.celdf.org

Ask for more help , and you will get it . Although First Wind and their minion now give you a respite , they will be back...
....but so Will You..Good Citizens of Rumford!
The more you educate , the more they will come to your side!

Ignorance and perversion of process and greed are their only allies.
Knowledge IS POWER!

Gary Steinberg's picture

The laws of Rumford are for all , they are for everyone!

It is good to see you are hitting the self-servers Rumford!
They are Upset, YOU BET, and TOUGH!
You should be Defiant and Steadfast!

Remember, you are "The Town of Rumford", with laws not for the priveleged few, but made for all, and we will all help,from everywhere!
Is This Syria, Libya, Afganistan? The self-servers wish it was!
Patriots are proud You Use the Process they bled and died for!
Use it well, it is yours!
Also rememeber from my earlier posts, there are literally no consequences for wind energy liars, we have no ethics code in Maine!
It is only YOU who can stop this with your rights and laws.

Now remove the self- serving selectmen, and strengthen and protect yourselves with a lock tight ordinance from heinous Industrial Wind.

It is your Right, indeed duty, to protect your back yard!
Use the charter of the town, it is your town, not the privileged self-servers and First Wind.

Rumford has never seen anything like this before have they?

The word is out, and Rumford is making its stand!
Kudos to the Citizens of Rumford!

Kudos to those citizen patriots who helped defeat the scoundrels and self - servers!
You have just cost First Wind more time and more money. Well done!
They will be back, but you will be stronger.
AND OTHERS ARE THERE TO HELP STATEWIDE, we are United!

contact http://www.windtaskforce.org , as well as http://www.celdf.org

Ask for more help , and you will get it . Although First Wind and their minion now give you a respite , they will be back...
....but so Will You..Good Citizens of Rumford!
The more you educate , the more they will come to your side!

Ignorance and perversion of process and greed are their only allies.
Knowledge IS POWER!

Alice Barnett's picture

mighty andro

i crossed a bridge over the mighty androscoggin several times yesterday. I asked,"How can you promote wind power with all this power flowing under us?" No answer.

Rumford, so a few landowners lost money. Is it about money?

Probably, because in the end it is the devaluation of abutters property that is agitating more and more people.

We can figure out how to live in Western Maine without destroying it.

Maybe some services will go by the way side.

Ed McCaffrey's picture

You know, if people from away

had been told to STFU and GTFO, the people of Rumford might have been able to make a decision based on what they thought was right for the town of Rumford.
I'd like to propose an ordinance that says that no people from away are allowed to speak at town meetings or protest in town unless they have a residence here or are a legitimate business interest. Mexico, Roxbury, Lincoln, Mars Hill, or any other place that isn't Rumford should stay out of our business. If you must be allowed to protest or speak at public meetings then there should be a sign hung around your neck that states
"I DON'T LIVE HERE, I JUST WANT TO COMPLAIN".
I don't care if you can see the towers from your property in Roxbury or anyplace else for that matter, It's not your damned property. If I live in Rumford but I don't think you should be able to put in a pool because it will make a big hole in the ground should I be there to protest your permit application? You can count on it now.
You have just shot all of the landowners, who had an opportunity to make some money, in the leg. You have also done yourselves a disservice because none of those property owners will frequent your businesses any more. How many of you who voted against this actually read the ordinance? How many of you actually knew what you were voting against?
For those of you that didn't know, next time do the rest of us a favor and stay home.

Gary Steinberg's picture

Is This what it is all about Sir? ?

an anonymous source says:
"I went to the OCEAN ENERGY CONFERENCE yesterday and the vendor area was plastered with posters that a vendor was a supporter of industrial wind farms. The wind industry had a large booth and presence….very intimidating indeed!

Lots of money at stake ….subsidies are driving the entire thing. I had one ‘consultant’ brag about how they ‘bribed’ fisherman off of cape cod, err. ‘Involve them’; in doing crab counts--$2 for return of a tagged crab, etc.; and other survey chores. After the payoff, the opposition of the fisherman withered away."

First Wind is very good at it, and to date (notice to date), has not gotten caught in Maine.
Have an ethics code as a precondition with all selectmen and developers.

Follow this :

1. Do you have, had or will have benefited financially from this or other wind projects in your area?
Are you a self-server?

2. Do you know if the selectmen have had secret meetings, financial dealings or other arrangements with representatives of First Wind in crafting this ordinance, and can they meet the transparency and ethics standards as put forth in my post below, (which are indeed the law in NY State). Are any selectmen self-servers?

...Remember, Maine has no such ethics laws, and indeed, a cash transfer to a town father would have to be caught on camera to declare it a violation of ethics in Maine, as Maine basically has no law in this area?
Because of the scope, size, environmental impacts, health and property value impacts, and potential permanent changes to this rural community, we the People of Lincoln(applies to all towns in Maine) and surrounding communities must know all the facts, so we, the citizens, are sure that all the standards of ethics and integrity of legal process have been upheld. The history of the dealings of the above aforementioned company must be completely scrutinized, as is being done in New York State at this moment. We have every reason to believe, and do insist, that the Code of Ethics governing these companies recently adopted in New York State be applied in Maine to assure that the public is properly protected and has the time to fairly evaluate the values and pitfalls of this new industry to our area.

We therefore request that the Attorney General of Maine establish this code that:

1.Bans wind companies from hiring municipal employees or their relatives, giving gifts of more than $10 during a one-year period, or providing any other form of compensation that is contingent on any action before a municipal agency.

2.Prevents wind companies from soliciting, using, or knowingly receiving confidential information acquired by a municipal officer in the course of his or her official duties.

3.Requires wind companies to establish and maintain a public web site to disclose the names of all municipal officers or their relatives who have a financial stake in wind turbine development.

4.Requires wind companies to submit in writing to the municipal clerk for public inspection and to publish in the local newspaper the nature and scope of the municipal officers financial interest.

5.Mandates that all wind easements and leases are in writing and filed with the County Clerk.

6.Dictates that within thirty days of signing the Wind Industry of Maine Code of Ethics, companies must conduct a seminar for employees about identifying and preventing conflicts of interest when working with municipal employees.

In addition, the establishment of a Citizen Review Board with direct legal consul from the Attorney General will be created to oversee and monitor the above Code within Maine.

The above Maine Ethics Code for Wind Industry companies is essentially the same as that which Attorney General Cuomo of New York State established on October 30, 2008. It was created because of the ongoing legal investigations initiated by citizens against First Wind and Noble Environmental Power in New York State. These investigations remain ongoing.

The Citizens of Maine must have this code to ensure that fair and ethical dealings be established by Windpower companies in Maine with it citizenry.
We cannot allow the ‘Windrush’ in Maine to undermine integrity of legal process, as well as impact communities in a multitude of ways,some of which may be detrimental , without a full , transparent process in place.
At this moment no such process exists in Maine. We insist on a statewide moratorium on wind development until the Maine Ethics Code for the Wind Industry is established.

Gary Steinberg's picture

Well done Rumford! NOW KICK the VERMIN OUT!

You have seized your Destiny from First Wind scoundrels and self-servers in your community.

You have EXPOSED the Bribed!Now kick out the culprits!

Now Ordinance Them Out!

Contact Citizens Task Force and CELDF.org

Develop a Civil Disobedience Environmental Ordinance, or just lock arms and kick them out, it is your town, not theirs !

Contact any others who can help you protect your lives and property from these scam artists.

Congratulations on Seizing your Destiny!

The defeat in Lincoln and elsewhere because of the perverted process used by First Wind should never happen again.
You have saved the process.Lincoln never had a chance, the cancer was too deep, but your'e wise vote has recognized the disease!
NOW CUT IT OUT TOTALLY!

You have given hope to citizens in seizing their rights!

Ordinance the VERMIN OUT, and NOW!

Alan Michka's picture

It's not anti-wind, it's pro-Mainer

Mainers are indicating they've already had enough of this poorly considered rush to land-based wind power development at any cost. The notion that a wind project in Rumford would have any significant positive environmental impact on Maine is preposterous. What Maine needs is a long range plan that is formulated and vetted by engineers and those versed in other applicable sciences - not attorneys, politicians, and salesmen.

The Governor's Task Force on Wind Power Development stated in 2008 that there would come a point at which Mainers would no longer tolerate the destruction of Maine's landscape and it's citizens' way of life for onshore wind development. Perhaps that time has arrived.

Most of this could have been avoided with better and more open planning from the outset, but ideology got in the way.

Gary Steinberg's picture

A rebellion against scoundrels and liars and collusive process!

and YES Mr. Fallon, and they will do it again!
Liars and self-servers should beware in Rumford now.
It will only get stronger!
It is not the environmntal issue at all really,
It is citizen rights over corporate collusion , greed and lies!

Ed McCaffrey's picture

Complain in your own back yard

Stay out of mine.

Gary Steinberg's picture

I am a full believer in the US Constitution!

I am full supporter of the Bill of Rights.
That should give you your answer.

Mark Belanger's picture

Tom, This anti wind group did

Tom, This anti wind group did a great job of spreading lies about this ordinance and wind power in general. There is also a percentage of the voters that do not want zoning of any kind in Rumford. This new board will more than likely extend the moritorium in mid July. My true feeling in that this has been defeated twice and maybe Rumford does not want another ordinance.

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