Anti-windmill group launches Web site

Posted Oct. 29, 2008, at 8:47 p.m.

LINCOLN, Maine — A citizens group that opposes a proposed $120 million wind farm on Rollins Mountain has acquired a headquarters, a Web site and is in talks with an attorney, leading members said Wednesday.

The Friends of Lincoln Lakes hopes to use the Web site, friendsoflincolnlakes.org, as a magnet for others statewide and nationwide who oppose or want to learn about wind farms such as those proposed by First Wind of Massachusetts.

“We will be getting information out through the Web site in a fair and direct manner on our concerns,” the group’s public and press coordinator, Gary Steinberg, said Wednesday. “We will have presentations on it and spread information rather quickly, we hope.”

First Wind hopes to build 40 1.5-megawatt windmills, each more than 300 feet tall, in Burlington, Lincoln, Lee and Winn, creating as much as 60 megawatts of electricity through Evergreen Wind Power, a First Wind subsidiary.

The corporation hopes to begin the permitting processes with applications filed to town planning boards, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers within the next month, its spokesman has said.

First Wind is also scouting for a location for its own office in which company workers can monitor all of its state wind farms, interim Lincoln Town Manager Lisa Goodwin said. No location seems to have been chosen.

Companies building power line connections to First Wind’s projects on Mars Hill and Stetson Mountain have already rented a former auto dealership on West Broadway.

The Web site, Steinberg said, will help the group collect information about wind farms, communicate with other wind farm groups, and answer claims made on First Wind’s Web site, firstwind.com. The group has about 20 active members and more in southern Maine.

“We are pleased that a citizens group formed less than two months ago has been able to put together an educational and analytical effort culminating in this Web site,” Brad Blake, a spokesman for the group, said in a statement.

“It is our mission to get facts, analyses, and perspectives to the residents of Lincoln area communities that they have not had available up to this point,” Blake said. “A sprawling industrial wind site will change the Lincoln Lakes Region forever.”

A prominent feature of the Web site, found by clicking “presentation,” is a slide show illustrating the wind site, Blake said. This features alternating photos of Rollins Mountain and the industrial wind sites in Mars Hill and Stetson Mountain.

First Wind has displayed at the company’s public meetings digitized photo renderings of Rollins with turbines built on it, but despite several requests, has not yet released them to the news media for publication.

The Friends of Lincoln Lakes is also using a house at 296 Main St., Lincoln, as a headquarters and meeting place. Some members have met with an attorney but the group has not completed any representational agreements, Steinberg said.

Anyone interested in joining the group or attending a meeting is asked to visit the Web site or telephone Steinberg at 794-8174. The site is updated continuously, he said.

nsambides@bangordailynews.net

794-8215

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