The destruction has begun in Lexington and Concord. On October 19, 2010, LURC issued Permits to Atlantic Wind LLC [Iberdrola’s shell company] to clear land and put up Met Towers; two in Concord, and one in Lexington.
Recently, Melcher’s crews went in and did the land clearing work. WHAT A MESS! They went in on wet ground, in the rain, and tore up all three sites!
I went in on November 5 and took some still photos, but they don’t do justice to the destruction. So, Karen Pease and I went back on November 8, and shot video. The erosion and the unnecessary damage is heart breaking. The permits specifically state that work will not be done on saturated ground, and that if such conditions are unavoidable, then specific erosion control methods will be used.
Well, the work WAS done on saturated ground, and NO EROSION CONTROL WAS USED! I have video of skidder ruts up to four feet deep, with knee deep mud and running water in them! At one point, on the yard at the lower end of the Lexington project, I was waist deep in soupy mud. Mud that had eroded down from the cutting/skidder trail!
Seeing such absolutely unnecessary destruction, at three separate sites, was enough to bring tears to my eyes. And remember, the towers haven’t even been built yet; this was just the land clearing! It makes one wonder why they even bothered obtaining permits, since they obviously had no intention of complying with the terms of those documents.
Below is the letter that I have sent off [on Company letterhead, priority mail/return receipt] to Director Catherine M. Carroll, of LURC, and also to Commissioner Eliza Townsend, of The Maine Department of Conservation. Both also received a copy of the CD containing the still pictures of November 5, and the DVD of the video taken on November 8. I know that Karen has also emailed a letter to LURC. They are aware of the problem. The question now is; what are they going to do about it?
TO: Catherine M. Carroll, Director, Maine Land Use Regulation Commission
CC: Eliza Townsend, Commissioner, Maine Department of Conservation
RE: DP4874 and DP4875
Enclosures: One CD of still photos and one DVD of video.
On October 19, 2010, your office approved permits [DP4874 and DP4875] allowing Atlantic Wind LLC to make two clearings in Concord Township, and one clearing in Lexington Township, for the purpose of erecting three temporary Meteorological Test Towers. You approved these permits without first holding a public hearing, as had been requested, in writing, by over fifty people, including myself. Those people had good reason to be concerned about many issues, including erosion, but were assured that all was in order, and there would be no problems. I have enclosed evidence that I believe proves otherwise.
The final paragraph of those permits reads: “This permit is approved only upon the above stated conditions and remains valid only if the permittee complies with all of these conditions. In addition, any person aggrieved by this decision of the staff may, within 30 days, request that the Commission review the decision.”
Well, to put it in simple terms; I am aggrieved by this decision, and do not believe that the permits should have been issued without first holding a public hearing. Further, the cutting for the projects having already been completed, I do not believe that the permittee has complied with all of the stated conditions. Therefore, I request that the Commission both revue the decision, and also that the Commission look into whether or not the conditions of the permit have been met to date. If the conditions have not been met, then I request not only that the appropriate legal action be taken against the permittee, but also that these permits be immediately revoked, and no new permits be issued.
On November 5, 2010, I visited all three sites in question, and took the enclosed still photos. I was so horrified at what I saw, that on November 8, 2010, I returned to the Fletcher Mountain [Concord] Site and the Lexington Site with Karen Pease, of Lexington, and her video camera. We did not have time to video the second Concord Site, but the still photos will give you a pretty good idea of the damage done.
You are, of course, far more qualified than I to review the permit and the sites, and determine if there have been violations, but I would like to request you to pay particular attention to the following areas:
Page 2, # 9, Site access.
Page 3, # 16, Soil disturbance.
Page 5, # 24, State Soil Scientist.
Page 6, # 27, Maine Department of Marine Resources.
Page 6, # 29, Public hearing requests.
Page 7, # 30, Interested person’s comments.
Page 7, Staff Conclusions, # 1.
Page 7, Staff Conclusions, # 4
Page 8, All Conditions, with particular attention to: #5, #8, #9, #11,
Page 9, #12 [especially this one!], # 13, # 14.
The fact that this work was allowed to proceed during torrential rains, that no erosion control measures were used, and that massive amounts of damage were done at all three sites, is absolutely unacceptable. I urge you to immediately put a stop to these projects and to get the appropriate people on the ground to verify and document what has happened. To do any less would be to do an extreme disservice to the people and the land that you have sworn to protect.
Please give this matter your immediate attention, and please let me know what the results of your investigation are.
If you have any questions or comments for me, please do not hesitate to contact me at anytime.
David P. Corrigan