Bowers Mtn Project
The Application Files
Why Oppose It?
Scope of the Project
Economic Impact
Scenic Impact
Property Values



Why Oppose an Industrial Project on Bowers Mtn?


Arguments against industrial-scale, land-based wind power generation

It has no effect whatsoever on the amount of oil we import.

It has never replaced a single fossil fuel powered plant.

It will result in increases in our electricity bills.

Using the wind to generate electricity on an industrial scale is not yet cost effective. In fact, it is among the most expensive ways to generate electricity. Developing industrial wind depends heavily on taxpayer-funded subsidies at a time when our economy can least afford it.

Wind generated electricity is unreliable. Wind varies from season to season, day to day and hour by hour. While our electricity use also varies, we generally need the most electricity when wind is least likely to provide it.

The subsidies & tax benefits that make it attractive to developers costs taxpayers and increases the Federal and State deficits.

After over decades of promoting wind, Europe is now reducing its investment in wind because they have learned that it is unpredictable, unreliable and very expensive.

European experience has shown that for every four 'green sector' jobs created, nine other jobs are eliminated for a net loss of jobs.

Contrary to Windustry propaganda, wind generated electricity is not 'green'.

Each turbine requires the cutting of 3 to 6 acres of forest, thereby reducing nature's ability to process CO2.

Industrial wind turbines have been proven to kill birds and bats.

Contrary to Windustry propaganda, the turbine noise has been proven to cause health issues.

Contrary to Windustry propaganda, the light flicker caused by turbine blades can cause health issues.

Pursuing industrial-scale land-based wind projects redirects funding away from more effective and proven methods of renewable generation and energy conservation.

 

Arguments against the Bowers Mountain Project specifically:

The Downeast Lakes region includes some two dozen lakes, many of which are connected by navigable waterways. This watershed includes more Class 1A and 1B lakes than anywhere else in Maine. Four of the lakes within three miles of the site, Pleasant, Shaw, Duck and Junior, are classified as "Scenic Resources of State or National Significance" (SRSNS). Between three and eight miles there are another five: Scraggly, Keg, Bottle, Sysladobsis and Pug (West Grand) Lakes. That's nine SRSNS lakes within the statutory eight miles and two of them are rated Outstanding for scenic value.

If you look at the map created by the Governor's Task Force on Wind, it is obvious that the Task Force recognized the value of this system of lakes and intentionally spared it from expedited wind development. Unfortunately they did not include Carroll Plt and it abuts this pristine and magnificant resource.

This region is home to a long tradition of outdoors recreation. It has the State's largest concentration of Professional Guides and Sporting Camps. People have traveled great distances to enjoy the remote wilderness experience the area offers.

People who can afford to vacation anywhere on earth return annually to this area. Past regulars include President Eisenhower, baseball and fishing legend Ted Williams, renowned outdoorsman Curt Gowdy and comedian George Carlin.

This region is unique. It is a largely self-contained economy that is dependent on offering a rare wilderness experience to its guests. Industrial wind turbines on the mountaintops will destroy the value of that experience and will seriously harm the local economy.

Seen from lake level, the 459' tall turbines will appear just as tall as some of the hills they sit on!

Maine does not need the electricity. Growth projections show Maine as having enough capacity for the next 30 years. Like other wind projects, there is no guarantee that the power generated at Bowers will stay in Maine. It will most likely go to Boston on transmission lines paid for by Maine ratepayers.

Because of projects like Bowers, Maine needs to provide massive transmission line upgrades. Central Maine Power and PUC think nothing of ordering a $1.4 BILLION upgrade to construct 350 miles of new high-voltage transmission lines so wind developers can deliver their product to other states on the backs of Maine taxpayers and ratepayers.

According to testimony of First Wind VP Matt Kearns, The first Bowers Project proposed would have created three permanent jobs. This is consistent with a report published by the National Renewable Energy Lab which states that the national average is one maintenance employee for every 12-15 turbines.

First Wind's Matt Kearns testified in the Bull Hill project hearing that there is job sharing between projects that are geographically related. Because the Bowers Project will be very close to Stetson I, Stetson II, Rollins Mountain and Bull Hill projects, it seems reasonable to expect that only two jobs will be created by the Bowers project.

Buried deep in the Bowers application presented to DEP, First Wind says the project will support five O&M positions including the turbine manufacturer's personnel!

It may cause erosion which leads to the silting of Wallace Brook, Barker Brook, Getchell Brook, Lindsey Brook and Baskahegan Stream. Wallace, Barker and Getchell are recognized by Trout Unlimited as maintaining viable populations of wild native brook trout.

The extensive blasting required may affect water tables, wells & water quality in the area.

Because this is a recreational area, many of the developed properties are seasonal camps. Their value is closely tied to the wilderness value of their surroundings. For this reason many properties will be significantly devalued.

The turbines present a very real fire risk. With the limited firefighting resources in this area there is the potential for a serious forest fire. The closest fire department is Springfield's volunteer fire department.

All of the turbine sites and power lines will be kept clear of vegetation through the regular application of herbicides. These herbicides may find their way into our brooks, lakes, groundwater and wildlife.

An extensive network of 60’ wide roads must be built up to and across ridgelines to get these huge components into place and to service them in the future.

The negative effects of turbine noise are amplified by the topography and the lakes.

The dark night sky will be invaded by an array of flashing red strobe lights which illuminate the blades as they rotate and the evening mist or fog.

The area south of Bowers Mountain is economically dependent on tourism and seasonal visitors who come to enjoy the natural landscapes and water views. The placement of 27 tall white turbines will ruin the viewshed and cause serious damage to the local economy.

Despite First Wind's propaganda, there is solid evidence that wind turbines cause decreases in property values, particularly in recreational areas such as ours where the lack of industry is large factor in the value of our properties.

Wildlife habitat will be destroyed and fragmented. This is an important migratory bird area. Turbines have been proven to kill bats and birds. This area is important for its numerous bald eagle nests, osprey nests and heron rookeries. And yet, First Wind has the support of Maine Audubon, however, ever since they became an Eagle ($10,000+) level donor.

The project developer, First Wind, has shown itself to be deceitful and untrustworthy. Everywhere First Wind goes, illegalities and perversion of process follow. For example:

•   As a result of numerous citizen complaints of corruption, then Attorney
    General Cuomo of NY investigated First Wind for "improper dealings
    with public officials and anti-competitive practices

•   The Attorney General's Office in New York subsequently required them to
    sign a Code of Conduct. The AG also created a Task Force to oversee
    First Wind to make sure they comply.

•   For some reason Maine's Attorney General despite numerous citizen
    complaints, refused to investigate First Wind or require them to sign a     Code of Conduct.

•   First Wind's business model includes selecting and paying for
     attorneys to advise towns during complex tax increment financing
     negotiations, flipping the concept of independent counsel on its head.

•   First Wind negotiated an employment contract with Kurt Adams, Maine's
    PUC Chairman, while he was still in office.

•   They lied repeatedly to the SEC in the S-1 document filed in preparation
    for selling stock to the public. When exposed, they said it was "a clerical
    error".

•   They offer small amounts of money to opposition groups and vocal     neighbors in order to appease them.

•   They have repeatedly trespassed on private property without permission
    despite repeated warnings.

•   They erected a monitoring station on private property without receiving
    the landowner's permission.

•   In other projects they have relied on 'behind closed doors' meetings and
    illegal votes by planning boards.

While these activities may not violate the letter of the law in Maine, they certainly show a disturbing pattern of violating the rules of ethics by which we live. We should expect more from the people we elect to represent us and the people with whom we do business.