Letter: Industrial wind no friend to fishing

Posted Wednesday, May 25, 2011 in Opinion

To the editor:

 

It's not hunting season yet, but there's plenty of 'shots' being fired in the ongoing battle to save one of the state's most historic and significant watersheds.  The irreparable and permanent damage to the scenic character and wilderness setting that is the lifeblood of the traditional businesses in this entire watershed must be stopped.  I'm referring to the Downeast Lakes Watershed.  First Wind LLC of Boston is going through the LURC permitting process right now to build an industrial wind turbine project that would consist of 27 forty-three story tall turbines overshadowing such pristine lakes as Pleasant, Scraggly, Junior, Keg Lakes and others. These turbines will be clearly visible from Lower Dobsi, Pocumcus, West Grand, and several others ... all the way to Grand Lake Stream. 

This watershed's significance goes back well over 150 years.  The Passamaquoddy guided "sports" as far back as 1830.  The State of Maine realized the value of what today is still the purest strain of Landlocked salmon anywhere in New England and built a hatchery in Grand Lake Stream in 1877.  That hatchery today supplies 75% of the salmon stocked in Maine.  This watershed hosts the highest concentration per capita of registered Maine guides in the state.  It has the highest concentration of Class 1A and 1B lakes in the state, which means they are rated to be "of statewide or national significance" in the LURC commissioned "Maine Wildlands Lake Assessment" study. 

It also hosts such storied lodges as Weatherby's, Leen's, The Pines, Grand Lake Lodge, as well as about a dozen others throughout the watershed.  These lodges are unique not only because the likes of Calvin Coolidge, Ted Williams, Norman Mailer, Jimmy Doolittle, and Curt Gowdy frequented them, but also because they cumulatively are one of the biggest employers in the region.  

The scenic impact assessment study submitted by First Wind says, "Fisherman can orient their boats away from the turbines or situate themselves in one of the many coves if the views of the turbines become undesirable."  Can you believe the arrogance of this Boston based company!  People from literally, around the globe, have been coming to this watershed for well over 100 years to vacation in an area that combines the serene scenic character of a wilderness setting, with some of the best fishing the state has to offer. They spend their hard earned vacation time and money on gas, food, lodging, license fees, and much more, to be able to sit in the front end of a guide's Grand Laker canoe and take in the very best that mother nature has to offer.  But all that will end if this project gets approved by LURC.  Sportsmen and women will no longer fly or drive 10-12 hours to come fish and recreate in the shadow of these turbines .... chances are, they can save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars by staying close to home if they didn't mind recreating in the shadows of an industrial energy site. 

If this concerns you, please submit written testimony to Fred Todd at LURC (fred.todd@maine.gov) denouncing  the "Bowers Mt." project, or come to the LURC public hearings at the Lincoln High School on June 27/28 at 6:00 p.m. to voice your opinion.  The developer, their contractor and the subs will pay their employees to come testify in favor of this worthless enterprise, while we depend on your good judgment as sportsmen and women to tell the LURC commissioners "the rest of the story!"

Save the Downeast Lakes!  Say "NO" to the Bowers Mt. project and others like it.

Kevin Gurall

Lakeville, ME.

www.ppdlw.org

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