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Selected Editorials from the Editor

Suns & Shields Christian Inspirational Writings by Rachelle Hamlin

Selected editorials from Dr. Katherine Albrecht, Ed. D.


The Roberts Trap is Sprung

By:  Bill Dunne
One of the most overlooked aspects of the year just ended is the vindication of Chief Justice John Roberts -- a vindication that showed up as the national catastrophe known as ObamaCare got rolling.  Roberts may have also doomed Hillary Clinton's chance to live in the White House again... click here to read whole editorial


Fort’s Wind Power Technical Review Committee Meets to Choose Sample Ordinance


Not Impressed with EDP’s Presentation on No. 9 Mountain


By:  David Deschesne

Fort Fairfield Journal, November 26, 2014


   The Fort Fairfield Technical Review Committee met on November 17 to adopt a model ordinance that they can use as a template to develop a commercial wind generation ordinance for Fort Fairfield.

   Committee members, Mike Bosse, Fort Fairfield Town Manager;  John Herold, Fort Fairfield Town Councilman; and Tim Goff, Fort Fairfield Chamber of Commerce Director attended an informational meeting in Mars Hill regarding the No. 9 Mountain wind power proposal by EDP.   The meeting was required by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection as part of their licensing process.  No one community was represented there as the proposed locations are all in unorganized territories so the company is able to work off a 2009 State law, which has minimum standards regulating commercial wind generators.  Bosse and Herold shared their views of the meeting with their fellow committee members.

   “No one spoke in favor of it except the [wind] company. It was an interesting process.  I can see that happening very easily here in Fort Fairfield - that type of meeting, having those types of questions,” said Bosse. 

   “There was a group of folks who owned property in that area that were concerned about access to the trail systems and their camps and to areas that they're used to traveling.  They were concerned that if the wind mills were there they would be precluded from going to areas where they hunted or fished.”

   John Herold was less than impressed with the style and presentation of the EDP representatives and came away with the feeling that they were somewhat amateurish in their approach.  “When I walked in they had these two rows of displays that consisted of maps and charts, they were framed and held up by bare, box-knifed cardboard boxes.  They were taped to this and they would have a picture or a map and a couple of handout folders.  I just noted this would get thrown out of a 7th grade science fair.  It was like finger painting 101,” said Herold.  “Did they put more than 10 minutes of effort into setting the thing up?  I don't think they did.  It seemed this was their first or second job out of college; there wasn't a mature, grey-haired technician/engineer with a lot of experience in the bunch.”

   Herold also noted the company's not so subtle efforts to “buy” their way into the communities in this area.  “There was a sheet that I'm going to guess had probably anywhere from 30 to 50 names on it of local organizations - the Humane Society, ACAP, and on and on - that this company had donated money to.  Like, we're coming into your town, we're going to insinuate ourselves into the fabric of your area and we're going to buy our way in - essentially bribe - so that you'll like us.  I thought that was extremely crass on their part even, as I suspect, if they think we're just a bunch of rubes that can be bought with something like that is still very crass.  I was really put off by it, I said these people are just trying to make a play.”

   Herold also pointed out a divide and obfuscate technique, now being employed by facilitators in many public school educators forums, where the audience is split up and is only allowed to ask questions in small groups, each group not knowing the questions/answers of the other groups.  “My take on the technique/tactic of having you ask your question in small groups at a table was 'let's not have a unified impression get out to the entire audience.' It was almost an attempt obfuscate the whole issue.  I thought Chris O'Neil from Saving Maine's Mountains did a wonderful job, he really made them tow the line as far as what they were supposed to be doing.  I also noticed not just the answers to my questions, but other questions from the audience, that I felt they were incomplete, perhaps oversimplified, I hate to use the word evasive - but bordering on that.  I just took away an impression of the whole thing that we were thought of as just a bunch of rubes, they had to go through the motions with us, and they were, but they weren't going to give us answers that [they felt] we were obviously too stupid to understand.”

   While working under an old Maine law regulating commercial wind generators in the unorganized territories, or in locations that do not have an ordinance of their own, it is noteworthy that some manufacturers' safety standards have changed since the adoption of Maine's law.  One of the safety standards the manufacturers have changed since the 2009 law that EDP is working off of with the No. 9 Mountain project, is the size of the safety perimeter around turbines of 1.5 megawatts and higher put in place in the event of ice throw or mechanical failure.

   “A lot of manufacturers are recommending a 500 meter circle around the wind generator for ice throw, any sort of blade failure, any sort of fire or a turbine falling,” said Todd Maynard, who sits on Fort Fairfield's Technical Review Committee.  “That's the minimum standards they're looking at.  They've done some studies on how far the ice is thrown off the blades and it really depends on where your location is to the turbine.  If you're downhill of it obviously it's going to travel farther to you so if you get a chance you should read some articles on ice throw.  They're talking 300 pound pieces of ice thrown within that 500 meter radius.  This technology is evolving and is something I see changing in all these ordinances.  They're starting these safety zones because they're seeing issues with some of these turbines.”

   After a discussion of the meeting in Mars Hill, The Fort Fairfield Technical Review Committee voted to use the Montville commercial wind generator ordinance as the template to model Fort Fairfield's ordinance after.  In upcoming meetings they intend to go over the ordinance line-by-line in an attempt to tailor it to fit the needs and requirements reflective of the people in Fort Fairfield.

   The next Technical Review Committee meeting will be December 1, at 6pm at the Fort Fairfield Council Chambers and the public is invited to attend.  While the committee's discussion period is not open to public input, there is a public comment period during the meeting where people may express their views on the ordinance being discussed.







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