A comprehensive timeline of our successful battle to prevent First Wind from desecrating the Downeast Lakes Region with an industrial wind energy project. We are grateful to the hundreds of individuals, non-profits, civic groups, and businesses for working hard to make sure this inappropriately-sited project was denied. Thank you for writing letters, making public testimony at hearings, and for your support through this process that lasted from 2011 to 2017.
Bowers Application #1 (LURC)
March 14, 2011
Champlain Wind (CW) application for Bowers Wind Project received by LURC.
June 27, 28 and July 6, 2011
LURC holds three days of public adjudicatory hearings.
Oct 19, 2011
After 16 procedural orders and three deliberation meetings, LURC holds preliminary vote on the Bowers application. LURC voted unanimously against permitting the project with two members abstaining. Denial document to be prepared for Nov 9th meeting at which time the vote will be finalized.
Nov 8, 2011
At the last possible minute, CW petitions LURC to be allowed to withdraw application avoiding the final denial vote.
Dec 7, 2011
LURC denies CW’s request to withdraw but grants CW’s until April 6 to address the scenic impact issues.
April 6, 2012
CW announces they are unable to modify the project. Final vote by LURC scheduled for April 20.
April 20, 2012
LURC votes unanimously to deny the project a permit because CW failed to show that the project would not have an unreasonable adverse effect on the scenic character AND uses related to scenic character of the nine “Scenic Resources of State or National Significance” within eight miles of the project. Click here to see the denial document.
Bowers Application #2
(Department of Environmental Protection (DEP))
Oct 25, 2012
Champlain Wind (CW) application for modified Bowers Wind Project received by DEP.
April 30, May 1, 2013
DEP holds two days of public hearing.
August 5, 2013
Following a two day adjudicatory hearing, multiple site visits and three months of deliberation DEP denies CW a permit for Bowers because the project would have an unreasonable adverse effect on the scenic character AND uses related to scenic character of the nine “Scenic Resources of State or National Significance” within eight miles of the project. Click here to see the denial document.
Bowers Appeal #1
(appeal to Board of Envieonmental Protection (BEP))
Sept 4, 2013
CW files an appeal of the DEP’s denial to the BEP. Landowner Douglas Humphrey (DH) of Bowers Mountain LLC simultaneously files an appeal.
April 17, 2014
BEP holds a public meeting for AG’s office to brief them on the Wind Energy Act.
May 1, 2014
BEP holds a public meeting on the CW and DH appeals. Preliminary vote is to deny both appeals. The denial document contains several typos and two inconsequential changes were agreed. Final vote scheduled for June 5, 2014 after the denial document has been corrected.
June 2, 2014
In a move reminiscent of its last minute plea to LURC on 11/8/11, a desperate CW attempts to head off BEP’s denial of their appeal. CW writes to BEP Chairman Foley complaining that “an applicant does not have an opportunity to respond to agency feedback… until a final decision is reached, by which time it is usually too late”. Even though the official record is closed, CW also requests that the BEP remand the matter to the (DEP) to allow CW to address their concerns by presenting a modified project. The letter is accompanied by new exhibits not in the record.
June 5, 2014
BEP holds public meeting to address Champlain’s request. After hearing arguments from CW, DH, PPDLW and the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), the Board refuses to remand the application back to the DEP. BEP then votes 4 to 1 to deny both appeals and uphold the DEP’s denial of the Bowers application on the basis of unreasonable scenic impact. Click here to see the denial document.
Bowers Appeal #2
(appeal to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court (SJC))
July 3, 2014
CW files Petition for Review of Final Agency Action with SJC.
Oct 30, 2014
CW files its Appeal Brief with SJC. Click here to see Champlain’s Appeal Brief.
Nov 26, 2014
Assistant Attorney General Bensinger files Maine DEP/BEP’s response to the appeal.
Dec 8, 2014
PPDLW files an amicus curiae brief as a “friend of the court”.
April 8, 2015
The SJC hears oral arguments from
Assistant Attorney General Margaret Bensinger representing BEP
and Juliet Browne of Verrill Dana representing Champlain Wind (First Wind).
December 3, 2015
Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court upholds BEP’s denial of Champlain Wind’s appeal concluding that “the Project would have an unreasonable adverse effect on the scenic character or existing uses related to scenic character of the nine affected great ponds” Link to Bangor Daily News article about the Court’s Decision here.
Petition to Remove Carroll Plt from
Maine’s Expedited Windpower Permitting Area
January 4, 2016
A group of Carroll Plt citizens present a petition to the Land Use Planning Commission asking that Carroll Plt be removed from the Expedited Windpower Permitting Area per Public Law 2015, Chapter 265. This law, which only took effect January 1, 2016, allows residents of the unorganized and deorganized areas who are registered to vote in Maine to petition to remove from the windpower expedited permitting area all or part of the township, town or plantation in which they are registered to vote. If the this petition is granted, Carroll Plt would be stripped of its expedited status and any future windpower facility planned for Carroll Plt would first require that the land be rezoned. Of 42 petitions received, 40 were granted as no one challenged them. Carroll Plt was one of two petitions that were challenged and were held over for substantive review.
September 28, 2016
Substantive Review of Carroll Plt petition to be removed from the Expedited Windpower Permitting Area. Similar to a hearing, testimony was accepted from the petitioners, the public, and government agencies. Oral testimony was also heard and rebuttal comments were accepted.
February 10, 2017
LUPC deliberation, Bangor.
Citing Carroll’s unexceptional wind resource, its regulatory history of multiple project denials, transmission constraints and disproportionate impacts to public resource values, particularly the recreational, cultural, and scenic resources of the Downeast lakes, LUPC Commissioners concluded that removing Carroll Plantation from the expedited area will not have an unreasonable adverse effect on the State’s ability to meet its 2030 wind energy goal.
They also found ample evidence that a wind energy development in Carroll would be incompatible with and could adversely impact natural resources on which many recreational opportunities rely, including adverse impacts to the high scenic value of the Downeast lakes that are used regularly by the public for fishing, boating, and camping.
The Comnmissioners therefore voted to remove Carroll Plt from the Expedited Windpower Permitting Area. A copy of the decision document is available here. Although the decision could have been appealed, it was not challenged.
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