Monday, November 29, 2010
My grandmother, Ruth Dolley, passed away today. My mother, my sisters and I were all blessed to be holding her hands in her final moments. I wrote what follows (and posted it on GAG) last spring, but I'd like to share it again. A great and loving and wonderful woman has gone on to her next big adventure. I'm full of sorrow, and yet, I am at peace. She was the best, and my life has been enriched because of my Mammy. March 13, 1916 -November 28, 2010
The Essence of Mammy.
It was Easter Sunday, and Steven and I took the kids to my parents’ home in Kingfield for a short visit. My grandmother, Mammy, has been living with Mum for the last year, but due to hectic, crazy schedules, it had been awhile since my two younger children had seen their great-grandmother.
Mammy is almost ninety-four years old. She has been blessed with good health for most of those years. But when I walked into the living room to greet her on Easter morning, I knew something had changed. Was changing. Her lips smiled—they always do—but her eyes told a different story. Mammy’s poor little body is getting tired out.
Over the years I’ve thought a lot about life and death. I suppose part of that is due to being a writer. I write about everything under the sun, and while putting pen to paper, I have to give the subject of my prose some serious thought. So… I often reflect on those elusive questions; the ones most people avoid thinking about. I’ve even talked to Josie, Eli and Guy about my eventual death. I want them to be at peace when I am gone. I want them to know that even when the time comes and my body fails me, I will still be here. Bodies aren’t indestructible. They are nothing more than tissue and water and calcium and sinew. They aren’t made to last forever. But the spirit? The soul? The essence that makes me, ME? Now THAT is something that is durable and long-lasting!
When my children do something unkind or boneheaded and feel that modicum of shame… that’ll be me shaking my head and urging them to think first, next time, and to try harder. When they help someone or act selflessly and feel that little burst of pride? That will also be me, giving them a hug and an ‘I’m proud of you, babe!’ It won’t matter that my body has turned to dust. The core being, the quintessential Karen, will always be around. You simply can’t erase the essence of a person that easily.
Mammy knows that the end is near. No one knows exactly how near. That’s up to God or biology, or a combination of the two. But at her age, and with her body wearing out, she knows.
But this is what I hope with all my heart she truly recognizes. I want Mammy to know that she will always, always be with us. She won’t ever leave. She can’t! Her soul is too strong, her influence too great, her awesomeness simply too awesome. I know for a fact that this woman will be hanging around these western hills and glacial lakes and the trails through our forests for a long, long time. Every single time I see a train or hear its whistle blow, I’ll think of Mammy, who first walked with me on the rails of the Canadian Pacific Railroad. Every time I pick a raspberry and taste its warm sweetness, I will see her filling a basket from the bushes in Seboeis. When I play cards, it’s Mammy’s lovely, wrinkled hands I’ll see dealing them as I remember all the games of Solitaire she taught me. When I sleep at night, it’s under a quilt she lovingly made. When I do the mundane chore of vacuuming, I’ll remember how she drove all the way to Kingfield from Milo one rainy day, just to buy a vacuum for me at Jordan Lumber Co. because she knew mine had sucked its last hairball. When I write a poem, I’ll reflect on the fact that the very first one I ever wrote was a gift for her and my grandfather Grankie, because I couldn’t afford to buy them a Christmas present… and I’ll remember the pleasure those two old folks expressed when they received that simple gift. They gave me the confidence to write, and that has been a gift beyond measure.
When I see a pile of moose poop (and that’s a story in and of itself), who will I think of? Mammy. When I find a pretty rock? A funky mushroom? A wheat penny? That wonderful woman will be right beside me, oohing and ahhing as I look in wonder at the small treasure.
Mammy’s not going anywhere. Nope. Her body might be rebelling, but that lady’s spirit scoffs at such weakness. I’ve said it already, but it bears repeating: Ruth Dolley is awesome. The best grandmother a girl (or boy) could have asked for. I didn’t ask for her, but I got her anyway. How lucky, how blessed I have been. How blessed I AM.
Leaving us soon? I don’t think so! No way, no how. There will come a day when I won’t be able to easily lay my eyes on that lovely, smiling face, but I will never, ever have a problem finding her. Every day, in every direction I turn, she will be there. Because I love her, and because she loves me, she will always be right here beside me.
The essence of Mammy. Something that awesome won’t ever leave those of us who love her, those of us she’s touched.
I love you, Mammy. Forever.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Tom the Turbinator is hard at work, choosing the winner of the "Name that MADGE" contest. We await with baited breath for the results!
What does that mean, anyway? "Baited breath"? A baited hook has a worm or a grub on it. Not sure that's what my breath is like. Not even sure what a worm smells like. Hmmm...
Anyway, my point was, we're anxious to know who the winner will be of tickets to the benefit comedy and music event being held at Nostalgia Tavern in Kingfield next Saturday, December 4th. Seven p.m. So... come on, Mr. Turbinator. Let's hear what the Judge's Choice is! (And thanks for doing this for me, sweetheart. You're the best!)
While the main purpose of this event is to raise money for the Friends of the Highland Mountains, it also serves another purpose. The evening will give us the opportunity to relax and have fun with each other and our guests. As stressful as it's been to fight mountaintop industrial wind in Maine, we could use a break.
So please consider joining us next Saturday night as I stand before a crowd and... do whatever it is that I do. No one has quite figured out exactly what that is, but I've heard phrases like "crash and burn", "bomb, BIG TIME" and "take a nose dive off the stage" used as points of reference.
One more thing: I'd like to provide you with a link to the blog for the Citizens Task Force on Wind Power, where a dear friend of mine has posted some photos and captioned them with his Thanksgiving thoughts. Please feel free to take a look and a quick read. And if you have any interest in supporting those of us who are fighting Big Wind in Maine, joining the site is quick and easy. Please consider doing just that. There is no expense involved, but there IS strength in numbers!
Friday, November 26, 2010
I ruined Thanksgiving. Not just the holiday itself, but the whole weekend.
It was a quiet one, with only my husband’s mother coming to share a meal with us. It was planned to be as stress-free as possible.
I guess I blew it.
I’d asked the kids to each do one thing to help. I asked Eli to clean the living room--which included digging all his wayward socks out from the corners and underneath the couches and chairs, dusting, and straightening up. I asked Josie to vacuum ‘the kitchen and the living room’. Dinner was planned for noon. I made my first requests at eight a.m.
Eli began his chore shortly thereafter, but he got side-tracked. The TV, the video game, the computer… who knows, really? Josie, immediately upon being asked to vacuum, began with “I HATE vacuuming!” The morning went downhill from there. Each time I passed the living room, I spoke to the kids.
“Eli, have you dusted, yet?”
“Oh! I forgot!”
“Josie, please vacuum.”
“I WILL, Mama. I thought Grandma wasn’t coming until noon!”
Lather, rinse, repeat.
At ten-fifteen, I stuck my head into the living room, where my daughter was laying on the sofa, covered up with a blanket and watching the parades on the television.
“I WILL, Mama! When the commercial comes on!”
Off went the TV. Sulking girl stomped to get the Kenmore. Grumpy mother took the turkey out of the oven. Grrrr…….
She vacuumed, but she stopped exactly short of the door from kitchen to hallway by the stairs. From where I stood at the stove, I could see the cat hair and dust on the floor clearly, and I wasn’t the one pushing the vac to within inches of it. She studiously ignored it (I hadn’t mentioned the hall, after all) and moved to the living room. If that young woman can channel her stubbornness into something positive, she will go very, very far in this life. She will also be terrifying.
Grandma came, and we had a nice visit over turkey, stuffing, squash, and the rest of the trimmings. I cleared the table and began to take care of the left-overs. Steven’s mother asked if she could help with the dishes, and I thanked her but said ‘no’. Steven remarked that the kids could wash the dishes.
This time, HE was studiously ignored.
Even though our bellies were full, the kids didn’t want to wait for dessert, so the chocolate cream, banana cream and pumpkin pies came out. Then the table was cleared once more, and everyone got up from the table.
“Who wants to wash, and who wants to dry?” I asked my teenagers.
“I’ll dry. Josie can wash.”
“I don’t want to wash! I ALWAYS do the dishes!”
“Josie, wash the dishes, please.”
“YOU said that if one of us kids said the OTHER ONE should do a chore, then THEY would have to be the one to do it!” A statement I made ages ago, but obviously held onto as future ammunition by a girl with the memory of an elephant. A selectively cognizant elephant.
This arguing and whining was being conducted in front of my mother-in-law, and I was embarrassed. I couldn’t understand why my children weren’t somewhat shamed, themselves. I also thought perhaps my husband would step in and say something. Usually, when Papa speaks, the kids listen. After all, they always hear me bark. I’m just ‘old hat’, to them. But no. Nothing helpful from that quarter.
“Josie, wash the dishes! Eli, dry!”
I walked from the kitchen and went into the bathroom. I brushed my teeth. I waited a minute, hoping to hear the sound of running water, of dishes clinking. Silence.
I came out. No one was in the kitchen. No dishes were being washed. I walked into the living room, and there were my children, lolling on the couches, with Steven and his mother chatting in the opposite corner of the room. I saw red.
“You kids get out there NOW! You can bet that if Betsy’s or Gail’s kids were here, they’d be doing those dishes without even being asked! Shame on you! Now, get out there!” I pointed towards the kitchen. I knew I’d made a fool of myself in front of Steven’s mother, but what I’d said was 100% correct. Steven’s nieces and nephews are helpful, polite and hard-working young people, and when they come for a holiday meal, they leave the house in better shape than they found it. AND, they make the work look fun!
The dishes got washed. They got dried and put away. One glass got broken. Sullenness reigned. A pall hung over the house. Mum had hollered at her kids. On Thanksgiving. In front of Grandma. Ugh.
I apologized to my mother-in-law, but I had to qualify it. I had to talk about how hard it has been, lately, to get those kids to do anything helpful around the house. All the while, I felt guilty. I should have and could have washed those dishes, and allowed my children a few extra minutes to visit with their grandmother, whom they don’t see very often. Or, I could have waited until she’d left for home before making them do the task. But no. I had to have a minor meltdown. I had to act like a harridan. I’ll say it again: Ugh.
This morning—Friday—I announced that the kids were going to clean their rooms, today.
“How come?” Eli asked. If the question hadn’t been so sad or so aggravating, it would have been laughable. The rooms are pig sties--and have been, for months. But, I gave my reasons, anyway. The holidays were approaching. The rooms were disgusting. And I was going to be kicking both children out of the house next weekend and entertaining friends who will be coming for the benefit comedy show I will be performing in. Their rooms will be needed for guests.
Their eyes widened in horror. Not just a token straightening, then! When I said they had to clean their rooms, I meant… they had to CLEAN them! Top to bottom.
“And,” I looked at my husband, my mind’s eye seeing the detritus left behind after some of his most recent ‘projects’, “YOU get to clean the parlor!”
Yep, I’ve single-handedly managed to ruin Thanksgiving. And then some!
Peace on earth, good will to men. Yadayadayada...
Saturday, November 20, 2010
In Oz, its true—you’re upside down. Your seasons, they’re not right.
When we in northern climates sweat, you’re nippy in the night.
While we are drinking lemonade and fanning air around,
You Aussies dress in flannel, and wool socks do abound.
Of course, such things are relative. At ZERO, you are cold.
But thirty-two (to Yanks like me) just means the frost takes hold.
Your Celsius, our Fahrenheit—these numbers are a tease.
(But, here or there--when ice is formed--it’s cold enough to freeze.)
Those old dog days of summer (when northern girls like me
Take midnight swims in river pools when no one else can see)
Have faded fast to autumn, we race to winter’s chills…
When I am pulling woolies on, you’ll fire up your grills.
You bear a long hot summer while I survive the snow.
You hang out by the swimming pool. I watch the snow banks grow.
So, yes… you are quite backwards… or aptly, downside-up.
When you are downing cold ones, hot cider’s in my cup.
November is upon us. For us up here in Maine
The leaves have turned and fallen, and covered up the lane.
For Aussies there Down Under, the opposite is fact.
Your spring has sprung in autumn! (You guys are really whacked…)
Top Photo: Frangipani in bloom, Queensland, by Jack Ramsay
Middle Photo: Bald Mountain, New South Wales, by Ali g
Bottom Photo: Sunset in Darwin, by Dozy
(All I'm missing is an Aussie photo from CP...)
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
********ROLLINS MOUNTAIN, LINCOLN, MAINE**********
My name is Don Smith. I am a native Mainer and I am 82 years old. I am a veteran and a grandfather. I was arrested and charged with criminal trespass at the Rollins Mt. wind project site in Lincoln on November 8. Five were arrested as we formed a human barricade to the site. Dozens of others braved the cold rainy November day to protest First Wind’s project.
Many people have asked me why I did this. Good question. I hope I give good answers. The first reason is that nobody seems to be paying attention to the negative aspects of wind power. Least of all is the complacent and complicit media in Maine. If we had just stood out there with signs, even the local reporter would likely have overlooked the event. By putting myself on the line to dramatize why this project is so wrong, it caught the attention of media far and wide.
It seems that most people understand utility scale (or industrial) wind power superficially, accepting wind power as “green” and “clean” and the panacea for solving energy and climate challenges. It is the result of years of masterful propaganda by the wind industry. Some of us have actually done a lot of research into industrial wind and have found huge negatives. By dramatically raising the visibility of the issue with the arrests, we are getting people to discover these negatives as the follow up dialogue transpires.
I have gained insights from my research into industrial wind. The wind industry would not exist without massive government subsidies. For example: the US Energy Information Administration reports that in 2007, wind received $23.37 per megawatt hour in subsidies; the next highest subsidy was $1.59 for nuclear. Those are our tax dollars going into something that doesn’t work.
We are putting up wind turbines in places where there isn’t enough wind to generate electricity. Look at the NREL map of wind potential in Maine. The area around Lincoln Lakes is all white. Look at the color code and white means “poor”. My guess is wind turbines are not about generating electricity, they are about selling a carbon tax in the form of Renewable Energy Certificates, raking in Production Tax Credits, and having the taxpayers pay the cost of construction.
Another reason I got arrested is to protest the proliferation of these industrial wind projects. I retired to live a quiet life on Caribou Pond, with a view of Rollins Mt. That ridge will have fifteen turbines, each 389 feet high. The total number of turbines will be forty on Rollins Mt. and the ridges of Rocky Dundee. An acoustics expert stated that the noise from these turbines will negatively impact hundreds of people on the lakes and nearby country roads, the same well-documented noise problems that have been experienced at Mars Hill, Freedom, and Vinalhaven.
I am not a NIMBY. I don’t believe these industrial machines belong anywhere in the rural landscape. Not in anyone’s yard---back yard, front yard, side yard. The noise issue is just one of many. If you could see the destruction of Rollins Mt. taking place right now, you would never consider this a “green” project. The DEP would fine me if I moved a rock at my home, yet they approved ridges being blasted away and scalped. They will never be the same. The Rollins project will blast away more than seven miles of ridges and clear-cut more than one thousand acres and install twenty miles of powerlines to tie into the grid.
That is for just one project. Without thinking through the ramifications, in 2008 the Legislature passed LD 2283, a horrible law to give favoritism to wind power. They chose an arbitrary figure of 2700 MW of installed capacity by 2020, which at a generous actual output of 25%, ends up being just 675 MW of intermittent, unpredictable, unreliable power. If Rollins is 60 MW, then it will mean 45 more projects like this to achieve that goal. Do the math. Based on the impact of Rollins, that means at least 315 miles of Maine ridges and mountains blasted away to install 1800 turbines; 45,000 acres or more of carbon sequestrating forest permanently clear-cut; and 1,000 miles or more of new powerlines. The price? Rollins’ pricetag of $130 million times 45 is a staggering $5.85 billion.
Why did I get arrested? To help bring forth what a folly this is and how damaging it is to Maine’s environment. Wind power is bad economics and bad public policy. It is far from “green”. The negative impacts of these projects on the environment and our quality of place far outweigh the pittance of good they might do for the planet.
Top Photo-Dr. Gary Steinberg
Seond Photo--Don Smith being loaded into cruiser (taken by Brad Blake, I think...)
Third Photo--Brad Blake
Bottom photo by Nick Sambides of the Bangor Daily News
This is an epilogue, of sorts. I spoke on the phone to Don Smith today, and heard a tale that was disturbing.
On November 9th, the day after the Rollins rally during which Mr. Smith got arrested, the Portland Press Herald published a very disturbing opinion piece.
Please read the PPH's "view" for yourself.
This is how the commentary started:
Protesters hoped that by stalling work on the Rollins wind farm in Lexington Township, they would draw attention to what they see as harmful development of Maine's wild places. Instead, they called attention to the self-centered and small-minded attitudes of some environmental activists and, ultimately, the ineffectiveness of bullying tactics used by groups...
And this is what Don told me this afternoon:
Don said the handcuffs were put on quite tightly before he was loaded into the police cruiser. After a few minutes, he complained that they were hurting and asked that they be removed. Of course, they couldn't do that. Law enforcement officers have standard operating procedures. Understandable, even if Don is an 82 year old man. He then asked if the cuffs could be loosened a little. An officer complied, but Don told me it felt like the officer tightened them, instead. Another cop noticed that Don's wrist was bleeding, and the gent informed them that he took medication to thin his blood. At that point, the officers decided to take Don to the hospital in Lincoln, where his cut wrist was bandaged.
Please read that opinion piece in the PPH. And then decide for yourselves who is bullying whom. Objective opinion piece from the newspaper which is owned in part by Governor Baldacci's brother? Gentle treatment of an old man who is standing up for what he believes? Who's the bully, here?
In case you've never noticed, I don't like bullies. Just thought I'd say...
Oh, and by the way.... readers left over 100 online comments to this op-ed containing factual information about industrial wind and the Lincoln project. Guess what? They've all mysteriously disappeared. Again.
We've got a big problem here in Maine. Luckily, we've also got Mainers like Don Smith.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
A group of concerned Mainers gathered on Monday at Rollins Mountain in Lincoln. A violent storm had moved into the region overnight. It was cold, driving rain poured down… and it was windy.
I used to love the wind…
The Friends of Lincoln Lakes have fought a long and hard and expensive battle. Several weeks ago, they lost this fight—at least to outside eyes—and First Wind was given the ‘go ahead’ by Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection to start construction on their proposed project. Forty industrial wind turbines overshadowing the Land of Thirteen Lakes, and in the shadow of Mount Katahdin. And… for what?
Wind industry mouthpieces list off the negligible benefits and most Mainers… most Americans… heck! Most PEOPLE believe them! The industry claims economic benefits in the form of temporary construction jobs and increased sales for businesses in the ‘host’ communities. They tout the ‘free’ fuel of wind… while never mentioning the hugely expensive cost of building, maintaining and transmitting the power. Wind energy is anything but affordable, often costing up to three times more than conventional power sources. Wind industry execs state, shamelessly, that wind will reduce our dependence on foreign oil. They say it will bring American soldiers home. More falsehoods, but do most people question those statements?
To our detriment, we have been conditioned to believe that which is told us by people in positions of power or authority. Spin doctors know what buttons to push, what catch phrases to use… how to tweak the ‘fear’ nerve or the sympathetic heart strings. Corporate trainers work their recruits, teaching them how to answer questions with just enough factual information to be believable, while not divulging the complete TRUTH to the common citizen. I’ve listened to these prevarications and misleading statements for a solid year. The wind industry has it down to an art. It’s bull$hit, but it smells sweet. Wind industry trainees are even taught how to deal with people like me. You know… those thorns-in-their-sides, pains-in-their-asses who show up uninvited wherever they go; sitting in their meetings, asking pointed questions, demanding proof, asking them if they will put their claims in writing…. That kind of person. I’ve heard tell we even have a name. Folks like me are called “MADGE”.
I wonder what that means?
Below is an excerpt from the Portland Press Herald. It is a fine example of the ‘spin’ corporate executives glibly apply when the need arises.
“First Wind spokesman John Lamontagne called Monday’s protest unfortunate. “First Wind is pleased to move ahead with the Rollins Wind project and put people to work in northern Maine during a tough economy. It’s unfortunate a small group of renewable energy opponents have chosen to protest that, but we respect their rights to do so,” Lamontagne said in a statement.
“This project will put more than 200 people to work during construction, and generate enough clean, renewable power for more than 24,000 homes in Maine. We’re proud of that.”
First off: Wind turbines do not and never will produce their nameplate capacity because the wind simply does not blow steadily every day and night… 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Actual production levels vary from 11-33%. Those 24,000 homes that could be electrified number, in truth, anywhere from 2,600 to 8,000. That’s a significant difference, if you ask me.
Mr. Lamontagne, whose name means “the high mountains”, is currently involved in shaving the tops off ours. Blasting, excavating, bulldozing… whatever it takes to build the roads and clear the turbine sites on our iconic and pristine ridges. Notice his choice of words when describing those valiant Wind Warriors who stood outside in the driving rain to participate in their lawful right to peaceful assembly. He labeled the demonstrators as “renewable energy opponents”.
Perfect! Just what I would expect! If you want to sway citizens who have not yet been educated on the real truths surrounding the plan to decimate 360 miles of high terrain ridges in a state with a poor inland wind resource, that’s the ideal tag to put on people who are anything BUT opponents of renewable energy! The 'windys' are good at their jobs. I’ve got to give them that!
The thousands of Mainers who are fighting to stop mountaintop industrial wind are not opponents of renewable energy. We are opponents of waste, and stupidity. We are against corruption and greed. We oppose sending the lion’s share of our hard-earned tax dollars overseas to countries like China, where the wind turbine parts are manufactured. We don’t believe in sacrificing a quality of place which is precious and unique in order to line developers’ pockets with cash for a power source which is undependable and intermittent, which cannot be stored, and which is incompatible with our grid. We oppose the destruction of our mountains, the fragmenting of wildlife habitat, and the carelessness and uncaring attitude which has made many of our fellow Mainers sick and anxious and unhappy in their homes.
But… what are Wind Warriors for? We are for sensible and affordable energy practices which are proven by science and economics. We are in favor of conservation and efficiency. We are supporters of our neighbors, and champions of our natural resources. And we promote—and expect-- honesty and integrity when dealing with our government and those corporations who desire to do business in this state.
I wasn’t at the Lincoln rally on Monday, but my heart was with my fellow Wind Warriors. We’ll leave the ‘spin’ to the wind industry and the administration which has decided to allow them to pillage and despoil our land.
In the meantime, if you want the FACTS, please come see me and I’ll point you in the right direction. We are up against a Goliath, but we are armed with the truth. And here in Maine, where the brave are denounced and branded as ‘renewable energy opponents’, we will not back down. We will not give up. We will not be intimidated.
We will WIN!
Top Photo: demonstrators at Rollins Mountain, Lincoln, Maine
Middle Photo: New turbine pad under construction at Rollins, with Maine's highest mountain, Katahdin, in the background.
Bottom photo: A silly pic sent me by a friend in Mississippi
It's time for a contest! The Friends of the Highland Mountains are putting on a comedy and music event to raise money for our expert witness fees, which we will need when the time comes for our public hearing. Please given me your suggestions for what the acronym "MADGE" stands for... and the winner, chosen by the Turbinator, my friend Tom (if he says 'yes' when I ask him, which he will... won't you, Tom?)will win two tickets to the event on December 4th at 7:00. Come on... this wind stuff is CRAP! Let's turn it into some FUN!!! Just put your suggestions in the comments section. Winner will be chosen on November 27th. MADGE: Meddling And Dangerous Gigantic Environmentalist??? oooh... not as easy as I thought!!!
Monday, November 1, 2010
What follows is a letter to the editor written by Cheryl Lindgren of Vinalhaven Island. Hundreds--if not thousands--of Mainers are opposing the governor's plan to install 2700 megawatts of land-based industrial wind by 2020 (that's nameplate capacity, not actual production ability, which is closer to 675 megawatts). But few of us can write from Cheryl and Art Lindren's perspectives. They live in the shadow of George Baker's Fox Island turbines. They are Mainers in the trenches. And they are standing up and speaking out-- in the hopes that someone will give heed to their voices. The Lindgrens and others like them have been blocked at every turn as they've tried to get relief from the daily assault to their senses created by the high, low and ultra-low frequency noises and the strobe-like shadow flicker produced by turbines in their backyards. I cannot do their story justice... but I can give them a forum and help their voices to be heard...
A year ago Fox Islands Wind began operating the wind turbines on Vinalhaven. A community effort that began with eager anticipation is now tarnished. As a neighbor of the wind turbine farm this year has been a journey from hope to anger and disgust. Fox Islands Wind continues to misrepresent and mislead our community while using its authority to bully state regulators on the issue of violating noise standards. Our experience has forced me to look into the deeper issues of industrial wind - the technology, the economics, and the politics - and the investigation has been an uncomfortable journey that has brought my once honeyed-eyed vision of easy, green power to the conclusion that industrial wind energy is, at present, BAD science, BAD economics, and BAD politics.
I add my voice to the growing numbers of Mainers that are demanding a moratorium on wind projects all over Maine. Jonathan Carter, once an advocate for wind power, travels statewide to expose the arrogant destruction of mountaintops. David P. Corrington, Registered Maine Master Guide whose new web-site, realwindinfoforme.org provides information about Grid Scale Industrial Wind Power Development nationwide and Industrial Wind in Maine. And there are the many voices of the residents of Camden, Montville, Bucksfield, Thorndike, Jackson and Dixmont who have repelled the efforts to locate windmills in their towns.
These voices, and countless others, are shouting truth to the half-truths, misrepresentations and distortions of wind developers. As wind energy proponents continue to demand that we provide them with unprecedented resources and that we waive basic, traditional rights to discussion and debate; as wind developers undermine local autonomy, enjoyment of property, and health and safety; as they thumb their noses at environmental compliance and demand that citizens forego normal, time-honored mechanisms of due process, we must ask a simple question: How many more years will citizens be expected to pay, and what rights will we have to surrender to benefit an unproven technology and the smoke and mirror economics that seem to be the foundation of industrial wind?
George Baker, as Vice President of Community Wind at the Island Institute and as CEO of Fox Islands Wind must be held responsible for the damages inflicted on our community. His Island Institute Community Wind website says, “We will demonstrate how wind projects in the coastal area can be sited without adverse environmental and aesthetic impacts, and provide long-term economic benefits for local residents.” Their failure to demonstrate success has placed our quiet community on the front pages of the nation’s top newspapers, including the New York Times. How can the Institute’s formula of 70% acceptance be deemed a success? What happens to the other 30%? Dismissed? Excused? Collateral damage? Where do our neighbors find the money that has been stolen from them, stolen in lowered property values that they will never be able to recover? What happens with the increasing medical bills that families must shoulder from the stress of living with days filled with tortuous light flicker and sleepless nights of low frequency rumblings? How can the Island Institute justify Fox Islands Wind’s preposterous use of the ridiculous efforts of the National Renewable Energies Laboratories efforts at compiling data from summer residents with an experiment that started in October? How can anyone call this past year a success when Fox Islands Wind refuses to share financial information to show exactly where the purported savings is coming from and what the projections for the next several years might be?
I know that the Baker/Island Institute strategy is to wear the neighbors down. That is not going to happen. It gives us strength to know that, while Baker, the Island Institute and their cronies congratulate themselves in their boardrooms they should be aware the nation is watching them with a jaundiced eye.
After this long year I can only shake my head and say: Shame on the Island Institute, shame on Fox Islands Wind, shame on all the other wind projects that are changing the face of Maine for the profit of a few ex-governors, ex-Public Utility Chairmen and ex-Harvard Professors.
Cheryl Lindgren, Vinalhaven