Are you aware that in the Planning Report No. 90 prepared for the Maine Critical Areas Programs titled “Maine’s Finest Lakes: The Results of the Maine Lakes Study” an area 10 miles east of Bangor that includes the areas surrounding Pisgah Mountain in Clifton is ranked third in the entire state for especially scenic lakes? Regardless of this prestigious designation, there is currently an alarming proposal. A wind turbine project by Silver Maple Wind Energy’s permit was approved on Nov. 19, 2019, to add five additional turbines 100 feet taller than the current five turbines on Pisgah Mountain. The turbines will be 567 feet to 607 feet tall and for comparison, a 45-story building is approximately 550 feet tall, the observation tower at Penobscot Narrows is 420 feet tall and the Statue of Liberty is 305 feet tall.
If a proposal for wind turbines were considered for the first designated area in the Planning Report No. 90 as “especially scenic lakes” in the Moosehead Lake area or the second designated area around the lakes on MDI, the public would be outraged. Silver Maple’s project must be assessed for its impact on scenic resources of state or national significance. The lakes and ponds surrounding Pisgah Mountain in Clifton include: Floods Pond, which supplies public water for Bangor and Hampden, Hatcase Pond, which supplies public water to Brewer, Hopkins Pond, Fitts Pond, Burnt Pond, Mountainy Pond, Holbrook Pond, Graham Lake, Green Lake and the west branch of the Union River. The exemplary scenic areas include the neighboring towns of Otis, Eddington, Mariaville, Dedham and Holden.
As year-round residents living on Davis Pond in Holden since 2009, my husband and I didn’t hesitate in settling here once we saw the beauty of Davis Pond with Chick Hill and Pisgah Mountain as our backdrop with access to Holbrook Pond via the most beautiful, natural thoroughfare we’ve ever seen. At that time there were no wind turbines on Pisgah Mountain. Then in 2016 five turbines were installed, which visibly changed the landscape for years to come. The negative impacts include loss of scenic beauty, damage to the environment, loss of dark skies, the killing of birds and bats, wind and noise pollution and for some the views of blinking red lights every five seconds. Also disconcerting is placing at jeopardy the lives of a pair of nesting bald eagles on Davis Pond. Furthermore, the reduction of property values will be exacerbated for all property owners in the affected areas should the proposed turbines be approved.
After attending the standing room only public meeting at the Clifton municipal office on Feb. 3, hosted by the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Bangor office, and hearing many other extensive research reports of additional negative impacts by others, I feel compelled to pass along how important it is to contact DEP for more information, to be placed on its email list for updates, and you may also request an online comment form from DEP. The deadline for accepting public comments is April 2020. Finally, I urge you to contact Governor Janet Mills, your state legislators and your town officials to oppose this project.
All of us who were in attendance at the public meeting were in agreement that while we are not opposed to alternative wind energy, we are adamantly opposed to placing additional wind turbines in an area designated by the Maine Critical Areas Program as third place for one of the most exemplary beautiful and scenic areas in the entire state. If through political and/or financial demands these massive, obstructive wind turbines must be placed within our beautiful state of Maine, let them be placed in areas not detrimental to our scenic areas and with citizens’ approval. Let us continue to enjoy stargazing, rock climbing, hunting, fishing, boating, birdwatching, photography and hiking without further obstruction of “Maine, the way life should be.” Just say no to Silver Maple Wind Project.
Laurie Nichols Kelly