AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- Groups sparred in Augusta Wednesday morning over the latest controversial wind project to be taken up in Maine.
The state's board of environmental protection voted not to repeal a permit for "First Wind's" latest project in Oakfield. The company wants to build 50 turbines on ridges in the northern Maine town as well as Island Falls.
Officials say the project could create hundreds of construction jobs and power thousands of homes once it is complete. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection granted a permit for the project in January. Opponents were looking to repeal it.
They say the turbines will hurt the scenic quality of views surrounding Mattawamkeag and Pleasant Lakes.
"The scenic quality for me that can't be mitigated in any way," said Carl Kaestner, who owns property near Pleasant Lake, "you can't put blinders on and pretend they're not there."
"Whenever we site a project...the first phases of a project... we try to vet all the issues both wildlife, scenic...public perception...acceptance before the very first stage of a project," said Alec Jarvis, who is "First Wind's" project manager on the Oakfiled site, "and I think Oakfield is a great example of how we've implemented that vetting process."
"First Wind" still needs to obtain a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers before it can plan for the project. Opponents say that they are already planning to appeal the board's decision to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.