Kelly Rioux and Neil Habig came to my place today. Kelly is the Project Manager for the ‘Fletcher Mountain Project,’ which plans to develop most of the ridge lines in Lexington and Concord, including the one that looms over my place. Neil is his boss.
I’m not exactly sure why they came to talk to me today. When Kelly called, I told him that I didn’t think we had a lot to talk about. I also told him that the time he had initially proposed didn’t work for me. I gave him a time that would, and he said that he would have to see if that would fit their schedule, and then he would get back to me. He never got back to me….they just showed up.
After their initial dog and pony show in Bingham when they first moved into the area—the meeting where they refused to give us any real information—they have refused to meet with us as a community. Today they even told me that they knew they would not get a very good reception if they held a public meeting in Lexington or Concord. They are aware that the majority of our residents have signed petitions demanding that they take their project and leave our communities. They don’t seem to care, and they don’t seem to want to talk about it.
All they wanted to talk about was the fact that Plum Creek [the big land owner who is leasing them the land], and Iberdrola’s foreign investors [who are planning to profit from American Tax Payer subsidies if they build the project], have a right to develop that land and make money from it in any way that they can, as long as they can convince the State to give them permits….and the communities be damned.
That’s the bottom line—– Iberdrola, Plum Creek, and the people who work for them don’t care about the People of Lexington and Concord. They don’t care about the State of Maine. They don’t care about the animals, the Mountains, the aquifers, or the lives, businesses and homes that they will be destroying. They are not developing wind projects to save the Earth….they are developing wind projects because the subsidies and laws currently in place make it the best way for them and their foreign investors to make a lot of money very quickly, and they don’t care what it costs the rest of us.
They just don’t care.
What they care about, is making money. And if we stand in the way of that, well, then, to Hell with us!
During our conversation today, neither Kelly or Neil ever once mentioned saving the Earth, being environmentally responsible, bringing jobs to the area, getting us off foreign oil, or any of the standard wind industry B.S. talking points. Their entire conversation revolved around the ‘fact’ that they had a right to develop that land and make money off it, no matter what it did to the communities, and that the People who live here would just have to accept that. They made it quite clear that ‘being a good neighbor,’ was not high on their list of priorities. They tried to vilify me for ‘making money off the Plum Creek land, and yet opposing this project.’
In the interest of full disclosure—–I am a Registered Maine Master Guide, and as part of my work, I sometimes Guide hunters. I was here long before Plum Creek came to Maine. Over the years, like most people who grew up in the era of ‘open access,’ I have hunted, and Guided, on Plum Creek Land. Right now, the vast majority of my Guide work is NOT done on the lands of Plum Creek or any of the other large land owners involved in wind development. As near as I can figure, perhaps something near a thousand dollars of my total income last year came from clients who used Plum Creek land during some part of their stay with me. But, EVERYTHING that happens on that Plum Creek land which surrounds my, and my neighbors property, DOES have a MAJOR impact on me and my livelihood. Every beech tree that they cut, every deer yard that they cut, every new road that they build, every aquifer that they crack, and every turbine that fragments habitat and drives the animals and the tourists away DIRECTLY affects me, my neighbors, my business, and my private property, on which I pay taxes and on which I depend for my very survival. Everyone has a right to use their property, but EVERYONE also has a legal and moral responsibility to be a good neighbor, and to not intentionally destroy the lives and property of others, simply out of greed.
Neil and Kelly didn’t want to talk about that…………….
About the only useful bits of information that I got out of them was the fact that they will not be submitting a permit application before the first of the year, and that they most likely would be asking for a TIF deal from the Somerset County Commissioners. Neil Habig told me that the project would still be financially viable without the TIF deal, but that of course, they wanted to secure every advantage that they could [Translation: they wanted to suck up every dollar of American Tax Payer money they can get their hands on to ship back to Spain, Qatar, and The United Arab Emirates.]
Interestingly, I could not get him to say that the project would be financially viable if the Federal Production Tax Credit was not renewed……….
Neil went on about what a great country we live in, in that it allows foreign investors to own land and bring much needed capital to projects such as theirs. [He didn't want to talk about the BILLIONS in American Tax Payer money being shipped back overseas to these same companies....] When he had finished, I told him that he might want to go ask Angus King and First Wind what it had cost them to go up against the People of Maine, and I told him that he had better pass the word to his foreign backers to get ready to spend a LOT of money, because we WILL be fighting this one!
They said that they came to talk to me and answer my questions…….but they wouldn’t tell me why it was right to come talk to me, but it wasn’t important to gather all the members of our two communities together to talk to everyone—-to answer questions in front of everyone. I told them that it was pretty slimy of them to come meet with the people like me who make a lot of noise, but to totally ignore the rest of the community.
I only had one question that I REALLY wanted answered today, and I asked it, directly; “When are you going to pack up your shit and get the Hell out of our towns?”
I didn’t get an answer………………..