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Keep It Grand

A Citizens' Organization to Protect East Grand Lake

KIG Newsletter: April 25th, 2012

Dear Members,

Membership Update:
We are pleased to announce that, at our latest count, KIG has garnered over 275 members since February 1st, 2012! Now that winter is behind us and many are readying to open camp, we expect KIG's membership to continue to grow in the months ahead.

Nearly every property owner on the lake has received correspondence from KIG. One exception that we hope to address soon are our Canadian friends on and around East Grand. If you have thoughts on how best to do this, we'd love to hear from you.

KIG's membership numbers will be important in demonstrating the depth of commitment against wind turbine development on East Grand Lake. There are only so many property owners and businesses on and around the lake. Have you considered taking this issue up with your guests and visitors who, over the years, have treasured their experience of East Grand Lake and might want to join KIG as a show of support? We have numerous friends like these who have joined already, and this is a most opportune way for KIG to grow.

Please contact your EGL neighbors and friends and encourage them to go to our website (www.keepitgrand.org) to learn more about the danger their lake is facing and how they can fight to save it.

Greenland Ridge Wind Project Update:
Until the Cianbro Corporation of Pittsfield, Maine files an application to receive regulatory approval from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to construct an industrial wind plant on Greenland Ridge, most of KIG’s activities will be dedicated to organization and membership building, as well as broadening our reach and strength through alliances with like-minded organizations and businesses throughout Maine and the entire country.

What is known today is that the Town of Danforth gave approval to enact, by a vote of 78 to 19 on September 13th, 2011, a Windmill Ordinance setting a 3/4-mile setback (from East Grand Lake), which makes possible a large installation of industrial wind turbines (20 or more) on the ridgeline. A joint venture, between landowner Malcolm French and Cianbro Corporation, is expected to pursue this development. Without the Wind Ordinance, wind turbines on the scale we expect on Greenland Ridge would not be possible. Around February 21st, 2012, Cianbro Corporation raised two meteorological (met) towers on Greenland Ridge. These towers collect meteorological data used by the project developer, data not required or likely to be released to the public. One rule of thumb says that the met towers will often remain in place for at least a year before the developer applies for a permit to begin wind turbine construction. Whatever the date, an application made by Cianbro will be a major call to action for KIG.

Aside from this status, the greatest impacts on the Greenland Ridge project are regulatory decisions related to other proposed wind projects in Maine, expected changes in Maine’s regulatory procedures and economic and political developments affecting energy markets throughout the world.

The greatest impact you can have is to educate yourself, team up with KIG and other area organizations dedicated to the protection of the natural integrity and scenic beauty of the East Grand Lake environs, and make your tax-deductible contributions to KIG as it readies for the battle ahead.

Bowers Mountain Happy Outcome:
With its 5 to 0 vote on April 20th, 2012, Maine’s Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC) handed First Wind Holdings, LLC of Boston its first ever denial of a wind energy development permit. KIG extends its enthusiastic congratulations to Kevin Gurall, the Partnership for the Preservation of the Downeast Lakes Watershed (PPDLW) and their many other allies who contributed to this critical victory! The $135 million Bowers Mountain Wind Project would have placed 27 forty-three story tall turbines on prominent ridgelines in Carroll and Kossuth in the scenic Downeast Lakes Region. See PPDLW’s web site for a wealth of additional information at www.ppdlw.org.

The East Grand Lake watershed is a close neighbor to the lakes that were to fall in the shadows of the Bowers Mountain turbines. Travelling on Route 6 in and around the Carroll and Springfield area brings you within only a couple of miles of Bowers Mountain.

That said, these two areas are unique in their own ways. The survival of East Grand Lake’s watershed from environmental threats and inappropriate development activities must be pursued in its own way and responsive to the economic and regulatory issues that specifically affect it.

One difference between Bowers and Greenland Ridge, which will get a lot more attention in the coming months, is that the regulatory process at Bowers was conducted by LURC, whereas the Greenland Ridge turbines would be situated in Danforth (an organized township), and therefore, regulatory responsibility for the project would fall under the umbrella of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). In addition, not only was the Bowers Mountain regulatory area completely within LURC’s jurisdiction, but all of the lakes affected (though not the turbines themselves) were outside the Expedited Wind Permitting Zone (a controversial convention crafted by the Governor’s (Baldacci) Task Force on Wind Power Development, discussed in a later newsletter). In contrast, the Greenland Ridge project is completely within the Expedited Zone, with a mixture of organized and unorganized territory and, arguably, reaching as far as international water and lands.

You Can Help!
KIG is working to catalog the character of the East Grand Lake watershed – aspects related to its fishing and sporting camp businesses, other recreational uses and the preciousness of it natural and cultural richness – in order to succinctly state what is at stake with a Greenland Ridge wind development. KIG will draw from materials available from the Woodie Wheaton Land Trust archives, from the Chiputneticook Lakes International Conservancy (CLIC) and other sources. We invite you to participate in this process as well! If you have any materials, photos, histories, etc. that you think help demonstrate East Grand Lakes “Quality of Place”, please be in touch with us at info@keepitgrand.org or contact any KIG Board member.

Local showing of the film Windfall:
KIG, in co-sponsorship with the Woodie Wheaton Land Trust (WWLT), will present Windfall, a powerful documentary film about a community in upstate New York coping with a wind turbine development.

Where:
The Woodie Wheaton Land Trust Center
2 Grove Road, Forest City, ME 04413, USA

When:
June 9th and July 21st - showings at 1 PM and 7 PM both days

About the film:

Wind power… it’s sustainable … it burns no fossil fuels…it produces no air pollution. What’s more, it cuts down dependency on foreign oil. That’s what the people of Meredith, in upstate New York first thought when a wind developer looked to supplement the rural farm town’s failing economy with a farm of their own -- that of 40 industrial wind turbines. WINDFALL, a beautifully photographed feature length film, documents how this proposal divides Meredith’s residents as they fight over the future of their community. Attracted at first to the financial incentives that would seemingly boost their dying economy, a group of townspeople grow increasingly alarmed as they discover the impacts that the 400-foot high windmills slated for Meredith could bring to their community as well as the potential for financial scams. With wind development in the United States growing annually at 39 percent, WINDFALL is an eye-opener that should be required viewing for anyone concerned about the environment and the future of renewable energy proposal divides Meredith’s residents as they fight over the future renewable energy.

Please try to attend at least one of these showings and encourage everyone you know who may have an interest in this issue to attend. KIG board members will be on hand to discuss the film and surrounding issues.

Reminder:

We are continually updating our website (www.keepitgrand.org). Please visit it and please send us feedback and suggestions. As a member, this is your organization.

Thank you again for your support, and take a stand to Keep It Grand!

Sincerely,

Zachary Ross, President
Michael Ross, Secretary
Jamie Plunkett, Chair, Membership Committee
Bill Beavers, Communications Committee
Keep It Grand | PO Box 345 | Danforth, Maine 04424 | info@keepitgrand.org