Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Wind, Work, and Winning....
It’s been an interesting few days in the world of wind. (And in case you're wondering... I just like that photo, okay? Hehehe....that what my teenage son looks like when I ask him to fold laundry and there are 'unmentionables' in the basket...)
Sunday saw a large gathering of Mainers at the New Portland Community Library for our regularly scheduled Friends of the Highland Mountains meeting. We had some new attendees, which shows that ‘word’ is getting out about the true impacts these industrial-scale wind projects will have on the surrounding areas.
We ‘tended to business’ and also finalized plans for our latest fund-raising effort, to be held at Webster Hall in Kingfield on April 23rd. We are excited to announce this latest family-friendly event. Derek Small, owner of Granite State Zoo, will be bringing some of his exotic animals for an interactive and educational show. Wow. What a great opportunity for locals who are used to communing with moose, black bears, coons and white-tailed deer! Instead, we’ll be introduced to… well-- things like what you see in the photos below!
This is Medusa. I’ve promised our members that if we raise $750.00 from this event, I’ll drape Medusa around my neck. (If that's against some kind of 'zoo rule', it won't be my fault, right?) And if we raise $1,000.00, I will also hold something large and hairy and tarantula-ish. Those of you who know me, know that I HATE spiders. And that’s all I’m going to say on the matter.
Since April 24th is Easter, we thought we’d combine this event with a food sale, so that people don’t have to do as much cooking on the holiday. If you’ve a hankering to learn something new, interact with some exotic creatures, and pick up some delicious food for Easter, please join us at one p.m. on Saturday, the 23rd.
On Tuesday, several of us drove through the pouring rain to Augusta to testify in support of a bill sponsored by Senator Tom Saviello: “LD 793-- An Act To Protect Ratepayers While Enhancing Energy Independence and Security.” It is hoped that the members of the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee will come to the conclusion that Maine should pull out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and the ISO NE, and no longer allow the PUC to commit us to long-term energy contracts.
Today, FHM experienced a victory. We were on LURC’s agenda for the first time since Highland Wind LLC resubmitted their wind development permit. We’d put forward a motion for LURC to review the ‘associated facilities’ under their traditional scenic standards as allowed by law, rather than those less stringent standards which the ‘generating facilities’ must be reviewed under.
Highland Wind had submitted a written objection to our motion. Today their representatives, along with an attorney for the Conservation Law Foundation, argued long and hard in an effort to convince the Commissioners to deny our request. Attorney Bill Plouffe, representing the MATC, spoke in support of our motion. After careful consideration, the Commissioners voted unanimously in favor of our request.
In the coming days, I’ll explain in more detail what this means for the Highland Wind project and our opposition. But for now… I’ve got to prepare for the ‘pre-conference hearing’ scheduled for nine a.m. tomorrow morning in Augusta.
One thing I will say: the people who have come together to fight for what they believe is right are a source of inspiration to me. Twenty-five members of FHM drove all the way to Bangor to attend today’s meeting. I sat in the audience and looked around me, and I realized I was surrounded by friends. By goodness. By dedication and integrity.
We’ve already won.