Franklin Countys First News

Petition filed for judicial review of wind power project decision

Protesters gather in front of the Spectacular Events Center in Bangor on Jan. 5, where the Land Use Regulation Commission voted to approve the Sisk Mountain wind power expansion in northern Franklin County. (Photo by Jake Hanstein)

FARMINGTON - An organization in opposition to an 11-turbine expansion of the Kibby Wind Power Project has filed a petition with the Maine Supreme Court, asking for a judicial review of the Land Use Regulation Commission decision which approved the project.

On Jan. 5, the LURC board voted 5 to 1 to approve an expansion to the 44-turbine Kibby project, running 11 turbines down the Sisk Mountain Ridge. That outcome was expected, following an earlier decision in December 2010 to instruct the LURC staff to draft a document approving the new project. The expansion represented a scaled-down version of a 15-turbine proposal LURC voted down in July.

The Friends of the Boundary Mountains, a conservation advocacy group focusing on the mountains of western Maine, was an intervening organization throughout LURC's approval process. The group, which has opposed other wind power projects in the past, filed a petition for judicial review with the state's highest court Monday.

The petition alleges that the altered proposal submitted by TransCanada, downsizing the project after a vote by LURC which instructed its staff to draft a rejection, was not adequately scrutinized by the agency.

"It's clear the changed proposal never received the required scrutiny by LURC that the original proposal did," Bob Weingarten, FBM representative said, in a prepared statement, "otherwise it never would have passed muster."

The petition also claims that that LURC wrongly excluded data which the FBM wanted to present regarding the electricity generation at the Kibby Wind Power Project.

A representative of TransCanada said his company is well aware of the petition filed thisĀ  week.

"We will be defending the LURC's decision," Kibby Project Manager Nick Di Domenico said.

A judicial review, if initiated would focus on whether LURC followed the correct process, not whether a wind power expansion is appropriate on Sisk Mountain.

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3 Responses »

  1. There is currently and for the foreseeable future a glut of electrical generation in New England due to conservation, efficiency and the recession.
    Trans Canada's Cleve Kapala had this to say when asking VT towns to lower the appraisals on the Connecticut river hydro dams: (
    "TransCanada has been affected by the recession and it's trying to control costs.
    He says the company earned half as much for generating power in 2009 as it did in 2008.
    (Kapala) "And that will be the nub of the challenge, I mean the plants are obviously worth less today than they were pre recession and pre-oversupply of electricity."

    Why would Trans Canada want to build an inefficient wind project and try to sell intermittent expensive wind power when demand for electricity is down and there's an oversupply?

    Subsidies, grants, tax breaks, loan guarantees, rec's, mandates for renewable energy.
    All of the above.

    Use Less

  2. Unless someone comes up with a way to generate energy that will not have any impact on the air, the water, or the earth then someone will have to live with some of the consequences of the generating plant. This is pure insanity which will only cause our country to become more and more dependant on foreign sources of energy. Get a life people,

  3. Instead of providing tax breaks for huge turbine projects, why not increase the tax break for home-based wind, solar, geothermal, etc.? It would create more jobs for installation and eliminate transmission costs. I realize the political problem comes from what portion of the solution is public v. private. However, a flexible mix of energy generation that allows for variations in local wind and sun conditions coupled with a home energy efficiency plan seems like a step in the right direction.