Make an informed decision
To the Editor:
We are faced with making a choice to accept or not accept a wind power ordinance at our upcoming election in June.
I would urge you to vote "no" to not accept this proposed wind ordinance. While wind power is an option to held alleviate our dependency upon fossil fuels, it is proven not to be an efficient way to overcome that dependency.
The cost to manufacture and put in place the turbines and the transmission lines that transport the power are huge. The roads to the proposed sites require blasting and flattening of mountain tops and nothing can be placed near them for as long as they are there. It is permanent.
The cost of these types of projects proposed by wind power companies need to be funded by U.S. taxpayer money solely due to the fact that there would be no viable return on the investment if they had to pay for the project themselves. It is projected that it would take 40 years to get back monies invested; therefore utilizing our money shortens the time frame on that return.
Fiscal responsibility starts here, I am told. Well where does it end? Why is it expected to cut budgets locally and turn around and accept letting companies take our taxpayer dollars on a federal level, that we all will pay back weekly or bi-weekly on a slim chance that wind power will be successful.
I have been told repeatedly that we need to treat these companies like we would any other type of business that wanted to come to Rumford. We are not being business friendly. I could do that a lot easier if the wind power companies acted like any other business that wanted to start a business here.
That would be to come to the town officials and make an open presentation about their request publicly, explain how they and the community would benefit by having that business in their community. That is the opposite of how they operate.
What one company has done is to arrange private meeting with indivual selectmen and landowners where the site potentially may be located, and God knows what they discuss, but whatever it is, it works.
The selectmen approached and other chosen have taken the bait. Make no mistake about it, it's all about money. The goal of the wind power company vying to do business here is to find the path of least resistance. They calculate meticulously their targets and seek them out. Their goal is to minimize at every step the size of their investment because of the time it takes to get that return.
Many towns across Maine have created ordinances that are designed to protect the citizens of that community. This ordinance that an individual laying in a hospital bed drafted up unfortunately misses many areas of concerns to Rumford citizens.
Decommissioning of the site after the life is one. Why is it alright to take millions of taxpayer dollars to destroy the mountain tops, infringe on people, wildlife and our waterways, but not have money in an account to take them down when they no longer work? That money needs to be in an account from day one.
Other towns insist on it and get it. Why not us? One town requires that a certain amount of money be put in annually for the decommissioning and the wind power company complied. Why are we not doing the same? Why would you not put in place an ordinance that would protect your citizens first and if concerns on the development of a project arise, you could remedy the
problem by getting written permission to continue.
We have seen that it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission, if you recall the incident around the trees being cut in front of the town hall. Rumford will face legal ramifications for years to come if this hurried up and get this done mess of an ordinance passes. Few will benefit short term; fewer of us will benefit long term.
It is unclear how many turbines are expected to be placed in Rumford; that figure should also be in the ordinance. If several are to be put up, we should take the time to see if they are accepted and not have a hundred put up without getting a chance to digest them.
Financially to the taxpayer, a project of 22 turbines would impact the average value home of $100,000 a total of $73 annually, but don't forget about the TIF that wind companies always ask for that will eliminate any savings the average taxpayer in this community could realize.
Ask yourself, do the ends justify the means? Is is advantageous to sacrifice our town's mountains and take a chance that this 25-year projected project will go without a hitch? If we are to have these types of developments in our future, we need to ensure we all benefit and are protected by an ordinance that ensures all citizens are proected by said ordinance.
The proposed ordinance does not come come to doing either. Please vote no; let's work at drafting an ordinance that considers citizens first and not the companies that's only risk is the profit.