By Bruce Farrin, Rumford Falls Times
Sun Journal news story
ROXBURY — Roxwind LLC has submitted a permit application to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection for the Roxwind Project on North Twin Mountain.
The project would produce 15.2 megawatts of power and include access roads and overhead and underground collection lines.
Board of Selectmen Chairman John Sutton confirmed a public hearing on the project will be held at 1 p.m. Monday at the Town Hall, 1095 Roxbury Road.
The DEP will hold another public hearing from 6 to 8 Monday at the Town Hall.
Public input can also be provided by sending written comments via mail to: Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Attn: Erle Townsend, 17 State House Station, Augusta, Maine 04333-0017, or via email to Erle.Townsend@maine.gov.
The proposed project would consist of four turbines, each 492 feet tall, or about 83 feet taller than the Record Hill towers in Roxbury to the north, and about 1 mile closer to Whitecap Mountain.
The closest of these towers is 2.4 miles from the summit of Whitecap and it is possible that some of the west facing clearings would be visible from Whitecap.
The towers would be highly visible. The closest Record Hill tower, visible from Whitecap, is 4.6 miles away. The towers on Spruce Mountain, distantly visible from Whitecap, are more than 8 miles away.
The power generated would be fed into Central Maine Power lines at the base of the mountain. Access to the towers would be south from Route 120 on Horseshoe Valley Road.
To build the project, 1.7 miles of road and crane road, 24 to 36 feet wide, and four pad areas about 1 to 2 acres would be cut from the forest. The total project is estimated to require clearing of 16.9 to 18.4 acres. Following completion of the project, all except 3.5 acres would be revegetated.
Kirk G. Siegel, executive director with Mahoosuc Land Trust, said the project would be within plain view of the summit of Whitecap Mountain
He said the state invested $243,000 from Land for Maine’s Future toward the original $750,000 purchase of Whitecap to preserve these views and the enjoyable hiking experience for the public.
Siegel said that while MLT has not taken a position in opposition to the project and is mindful of the importance of non-fossil fuel energy sources, the MLT board of directors urges its members, supporters and the public to learn about the project and provide input to the DEP.
The DEP’s consultant who reviewed RoxWind’s proposal concluded that the application did not adequately consider the visual effects of clearing and grading, as seen from Whitecap.
An independent study prepared for the DEP by LandWorks also questions whether the proposed new towers would detract from the scenic value and the enjoyment of the thousands of people who hike Whitecap.
The new towers would be about centered in the view to the northeast between Black Mountain and the Record Hill turbines and, including the visible Spruce Mountain turbines, would affect approximately 120 degrees of the vista from the summit of Whitecap.
The Scenic Resource Impact Assessment prepared by Landworks to review Roxwind’s Visual Impact Assessment concluded that “there is insufficient analysis of the potential impacts of the project to users of the Whitecap Mountain scenic resource;” and “there is insufficient analysis of the cumulative impact posed by the addition of this project to the overall panorama of the summit vista on Whitecap Mountain.”
The Landworks report, RoxWind’s application and related materials can be seen at www.maine.gov/dep/land/projects/roxwind.
Public hearing schedule:
Roxbury Wind Project
Application for Natural Resources Protection Act Permit, Small-scale Wind Certification, Stormwater Management Permit
Jan. 7 – Roxbury Town Hall
1-1:15 p.m.: Opening statement by presiding officer, swearing in of witnesses, and incorporation of application file into the hearing record.
1:15-1:35 p.m.: Lindsay Deane-Mayer.
1:35-2:05 p.m.: Intervener cross-examination of Lindsay Deane-Mayer; department staff questions.
2:05-2:15 p.m.: Break
2:15-2:45 p.m.: Terrance Dewan and Amy Segal
2:45-3:25 p.m.: Intervener’s cross-examination of RoxWind scenic experts; department staff questions.
3:25-3:45 p.m.: Mark Baldwin
3:45-4:15 p.m.: Intervener’s cross-examination of Mark Baldwin (20 minutes); DEP staff questions.
4:15-4:30 p.m.: Break
4:35-5:05 p.m.: RoxWind’s cross-examination of William Downes (20 minutes); department staff questions
5:05-5:15 p.m.: Closing statement by presiding officer.
5:15-6 p.m.: Dinner break
6-8 p.m.: Testimony from the public.