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Keep It Grand

A Citizens' Organization to Protect East Grand Lake

October 13th, 2012

Dear Members,

Welcome to an updated version of the film classic “The French Connection”. Malcolm French is the landowner of Greenland Ridge who has been collaborating with the Cianbro Corporation of Pittsfield, ME to build an industrial wind development on East Grand Lake. They have erected meteorological wind towers on Greenland Ridge and persuaded Danforth to change their ordinance to allow building of wind turbines within 3/4mi. of East Grand Lake. However, in September, Malcolm French and his company, Haynes Timberlands, were indicted by a Federal Grand jury in connection with a pot-growing operation in Township 37, Washington County, ME. The operation, discovered by drug agents in September, 2009, is one of the largest operations of its kind in New England, netting nearly three thousand mature plants and having an estimated value between $8M and $9M. The property is owned by Haynes Timberlands, a company formed by Barbara Haynes French (sister to the owner of H.C. Haynes Inc.), and Malcolm French in 2001. Though a separate company and not indicted, H.C. Haynes Inc. appears to have provided $4.1 million to Haynes Timberland to buy 22,088 acres in Township 37 according to documents on file with Washington County Registry of Deeds (Big drug bust, high stakes in Down East Maine Portland Press Herald, 9/27/12). Other arrests were made on multiple charges.  (Five Mainers and Timberland Company Indicted in Massive 2009 Down East Pot Seizure Bangor Daily News, 9/24/12).

There has been no news related to how the ongoing case will specifically affect the East Grand industrial wind project. How the principals intend to move forward at this point is speculative (We encourage you to follow developments by going to our website regularly for updates and links to news articles). However, Peter Vigue, the President and CEO of the Cianbro Corporation, is involved in major projects throughout Maine including the controversial proposal for an East-West Highway. Though they had no connection with the pot growing operation or indictment, it is important to consider that the Cianbro Corporation entered this collaboration with Malcolm French despite the fact that they should have known that French and his company, Haynes Timberland, were the owners of Township 37. Land ownership is a matter of public record and is common knowledge to residents.  Either Cianbro failed in the most basic task of due diligence in examining the background of a potential partner by uncovering important activities such as French’s ownership of Township 37, or they did know but moved ahead with the collaboration despite this. Now, with the connection made for everyone to see, maybe they will reconsider the wisdom of their choice, do the right thing and end their relationship with French. If they don’t, it just fuels questions about their judgment and trustworthiness.  

Cianbro asks Mainers to trust them that the East-West Highway is not a boondoggle for them and that they will protect Maine’s natural environment (Environmentalists see ulterior motive behind east-west highway; Vigue denies claims Bangor Daily News, 7/16/12). However, given their display of poor judgment and their willingness to create an unnecessary industrial wind project that would destroy East Grand Lake, why wouldn’t reasonable people question trusting their intentions regarding the East-West Highway? 

Here’s the visual evidence of what they are proposing to do to East Grand Lake. Keep It Grand has engaged Michael Lawrence of Michael Lawrence Associates, Landscape Architects, and Site Planning Consultants to prepare a Visual Impact Assessment Report on a potential wind development along Greenland Ridge. Michael and his company are very experienced preparing these reports, having done so for several other wind projects. We have posted several preliminary images that he has produced on our website (http://www.keepitgrand.org/node/75). Actual photographs of Greenland Ridge have been taken from several different locations around the lake. Scale images of industrial wind turbines are then superimposed in the photographs. These images accurately depict what the ridge will look like if these wind turbines are constructed.

These images leave no doubt, industrial wind turbines do not belong towering over East Grand Lake (again, please see http://www.keepitgrand.org/node/75 for more images).


View from Greenland Cove (click to enlarge)

View with Billy and Nan (click to enlarge)

If the Cianbro Corporation is willing to do this, why should Mainers believe their reassurances that they can be trusted to preserve Maine’s natural beauty if they get the rights to build an East-West Highway? 

This is why we are fighting here on East Grand and why we must join forces with all those who believe Maine’s future remains grounded in preserving its natural beauty.

Spread the word. Write your congressional representative. Raise this in local news outlets. And keep visiting keepitgrand.org to stay up to date on developments affecting us all.

Thank you for your ongoing support,
The Keep It Grand Board
Keep It Grand | PO Box 345 | Danforth, Maine 04424 | info@keepitgrand.org