Many questions still arise
To the Editor:
Once again, the townspeople of Dixfield will be asked to decide whether or how to regulate wind power in town. A permit for a wind data tower on Colonel Holman Mountain was granted to Patriot Renewables LLC in August 2009. The data seems to indicate enough wind is present to profit the company with installation of an industrial wind turbine facility there.
As it stands now, the developer is required to submit project and site information to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. The Maine DEP will either approve or deny the project using guidelines established by the Maine Legislature or within the internal rules of the Department. As of today, the Maine DEP has not received application for an industrial wind turbine facility for Colonel Holman Mountain.
Recently, a representative of Patriot Renewables LLC explained at a selectmen meeting that three years wasn’t an unusual amount of time for a project to be in development.
At the same selectmen meeting, it became apparent there could be inconsistencies in the wind facility ordinance proposed to be voted on this November 6. Hopefully and hopefully soon, we will know whether this document of regulations provides adequate restrictions to protect community health, welfare and planned goals.
We were told the ordinance was intentionally written to give a proposed wind turbine facility on Colonel Holman Mountain a “green light" to what was understood at the time to be in alignment with state guidelines. State guidelines aside, many questions still arise over how far sounds from industrial wind turbines carry and affect people’s health, how much will they affect property values in the area, how does industrial wind turbines in such a conspicuous place in Dixfield align with the Town’s Comprehensive Plan.
At the minimum, industrial wind turbines need to be setback 2 kilometers from property lines of landowners who have no participation in the project.
Okay, now if the developer is willing to do what is right and comply with a 2 kilometer (6,562-foot) setback, he will procure what would be control of one fifth of the area of Dixfield, either, by land purchase or easement arrangements. Coincidently, the project would, at current estimate, for the first year of assessed value, be about one fifth of Dixfield’s tax base. But wind turbines, being machines, like automobiles, lose value, year after year.
So, as Patriot Renewables LLC continues to take unusual steps of handing out money to various groups in town, ( I know NewPage donates, but they are an established community member), think, if this project is so beneficial to all, why do they play the rich uncle before becoming an established member of the community.