Maine DEP: Deny First Wind's application to build the Bowers Mountain Wind project.
First Wind of Boston has applied to Maine's Dept of Environmental Protection for a permit to build a 48MW wind energy project on Bowers Mountain, in Carroll Plt, Maine. Bowers Mountain stands at the head of a remarkable network of more than 20 interconnected lakes known as the Downeast Lakes. The Maine Legislature has designated only 280 Maine lakes as being Scenic Resources of Statewide Significance. Of those 280 lakes, fourteen (5%) are within 8 miles of Bowers Mountain and of those 14, nine would have views of the 459' tall turbines.
For well over 150 years the Downeast Lakes Region has attracted people who seek an outdoor wilderness experience. Visitors come to enjoy outstanding fishing, camping, hunting, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, wildlife photography, birding, XC skiing, ice fishing, snowshoeing and relaxing in an unspoiled wilderness environment.
A recent survey of the users of the Downeast Lakes showed conclusively that if there are turbines visible on Bowers Mountain, the Downeast Lakes region will lose its unique allure and many of these visitors will recreate elsewhere. Because the local economy is almost entirely dependent on tourism, will be seriously damaged. Traditional Maine Sporting Camps will suffer. Professional Guides will suffer. Small businesses will close. Jobs will be lost.
Back in 2011 First Wind applied to Maine's Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC) for a permit to build a slightly different wind project on this same site. After three days of public hearings, extensive third party review and several months of intense deliberations, the Commission voted unanimously to deny a permit for a wind project on Bowers Mountain. In its denial document, the Commission stated that "Views from all nine of the Scenic Resources of Statewide Significance (lakes) will be significantly compromised such that the development would have an unreasonable adverse effect on the scenic character and existing uses related to scenic character."
Recently the State legislature transferred permitting authority for industrial wind projects from LURC to the DEP. First Wind is therefore now able to submit their application for a modified project to DEP in hopes of a different outcome. The new project has fewer turbines but they are taller.
The Bowers Mountain wind project still does not satisfy the scenic impact criterion for approval. The irreparable damage this poorly sited project will cause far outweighs its benefits.
PLEASE deny First Wind a permit to build the Bowers Mountain Wind project.
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