View Larger Map
The staff of the Maine Department of Enviromental Protection is advising that a 16-turbine wind farm proposed for Bowers Mountain in Carroll Plantation be rejected.
In a draft decision released Wednesday, staff members said the project, proposed by a subsidiary of First Wind, would have an "adverse effect" on the scenic character of eight lakes that are within eight miles of the proposed project.
"This finding is not based on the fact that the proposed project would be highly visible, but rather on evidence in the record that demonstrates the great ponds within 8 miles of the project have a high scenic significance," staff members say in the report.
From Pleasant Lake, for example, 9 to 16 turbines would be visible from nearly three-quarters of the lake, according to the report. The other affected lakes include Duck, Junior, Shaw, Keg, Scraggly, Bottle, and Sysladobsis.
The project is being proposed by First Wind subsidiary Champlain Wind LLC. In 2012, state regulators rejected another plan from First Wind for a 16-turbine farm - pared down from 27 turbines - on Bowers Mountain.
In a statement issued this afternoon, John Lamontagne of First Wind says the company is "disappointed" in the staff's recommendation.
"This draft decision runs contrary to the views of the people of Carroll Plantation and surrounding communities who were very supportive of this project," Lamontagne says. "The project has the support of local full-time residents and businesses that welcome new economic opportunity. The DEP instead adopted the position of a small minority. We believe the Bowers project is a well-sited project that will bring significant economic benefits for Maine and the region and it enjoys widespread support from nearly all of the state's environmental organizations.