Bowers wind project mix of bad motives

By Paul Rudershausen, Special to the BDN
Posted Nov. 18, 2011, at 4:08 p.m.

The Maine Land Use Regulation Commission, in assessing the proposed Bowers Mountain Wind Project put forth by First Wind, recently arrived at the sensible conclusion to deny the application. At question was whether proposed 400-foot ridgetop wind towers with 60-foot rotating blades and 24/7 red strobe lights could have been seen from some of Maine’s most majestic lakes.

Surprisingly, the undeniable impact on the view was once in question by a state that has long since banned 40-foot-high freeway billboards but endured First Wind falsehoods that towers 10 times higher would have no impact. Neil Kiely, First Wind representative, told a Maine news station with a straight face that “Most folks find that [wind turbines] are either attractive or fade into the distance.”

President Obama has greased the skids for green power, funneling no-interest loans and stimulus funds to green energy companies such as Solyndra while instituting a hidden tax on utility consumers by requiring that their power usage increasingly come from green sources.

This energy is green in name only — energy derived from wind is far more inefficient and costly than First Wind and friends would have you believe. But energy and global warming have morphed into election issues.

Despite approval ratings at an abysmal 36 percent, the president still recycles the same energy rhetoric to galvanize his political base.

Obama recently spoke about the evils of traditional energy sources at the institution where I work, energizing the same volatile and naive university students who have become core support for his reelection bid.

In an Oct. 14 BDN OpEd, Tim Gardner and Jay Haynes wrote, “Wind power helps save Down East way of life.” This is not true. We have exported employment in the paper, furniture and textile industries once operating in central and northern Maine because of the heavy hand of Obama-style liberal politics that puts a premium on corporate regulation and stifling taxes on blue-collar companies. This leads to job export to developing countries.

The First Wind development that the Gardner-Haynes OpEd supports, which is funded by lavish grants and stimulus funds courtesy of the Obama administration, creates a miniscule number of permanent jobs while extending our tax burden and national debt.

Gardner and Haynes state that in supporting industrial wind power, Mainers “would like to have an additional revenue stream to offset the cost of taxes on their lands.” Gardner’s and Haynes’ companies already have this revenue stream; it’s the Maine Tree Growth Tax Law and it requires landowners receiving this break to permit the public on their land in exchange for reduced property taxes.

Why does Lakeville Shores want the Bowers wind project to be approved? Because it owns the same mountainsides that First Wind wants to develop. For Lakeville Shores, that’s a double dip. They remove 100-year-old trees off scenic Maine ridgetops and then lease their land to First Wind at rates subsidized by Obama stimulus funds.

Conservation groups such as Maine Audubon stand next to clear-cutters such as Lakeville Shores and extol the virtues of mountaintop wind development because they both get financial incentives from First Wind.

The most glaring and blatant omission from the Gardner-Haynes OpEd is the fact that public comments to LURC were overwhelmingly against the proposed Bowers project. This opposition speaks to the soul of Maine because only the opponents are trying to preserve a priceless view.

This overwhelming opposition to the Bowers project served notice to LURC that the vast majority of interested parties do not want to sacrifice first-class views for a disastrously so-called green development project that would have used your tax dollars and required thousands of tons of explosives, fossil fuels and mountaintop blasting to complete.

Paul Rudershausen is a fishery biologist who lives in North Carolina. He owns a woodlot in Carroll Plantation that overlooks the Down East Chain of Lakes.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/11/18/opinion/contributors/bowers-wind-project-mix-of-bad-motives/ printed on September 18, 2014