Some Oakfield, Island Falls residents still oppose wind farm

9 years ago

OAKFIELD, Maine — Though a newly built 50-turbine wind farm in this southern Aroostook community prepares to go online, Donna Davidge of Island Falls says she has not backed down in her opposition to the project, or to wind farms in general.
“I am still opposed to it and I will never change my mind,” she said recently.

Davidge was a member of Protect Our Lakes, a group formed three years ago to fight the project that is situated about 2.5 miles from the center of Oakfield.
Protect Our Lakes held several fundraisers over the past few years to raise money to oppose the proposal in court, where the group argued that the turbines would spoil the views from Pleasant and Mattawamkeag lakes, which are important to the local tourism economy. The organization also suggested the turbines could harm bats and eagles who flew too close to the blades.
“I am still trying to educate people about wind turbines and what they do not only in Oakfield, but globally,” said Davidge, who runs a yoga retreat in Island Falls. “I feel that they are toxic. I feel that they look terrible, and that they make noise and I am heartbroken to see them up there spoiling our view like that.”
David Stewart, who lives in Oakfield, also disapproves of the turbines, but only because he believes that they “wreck” the beauty of the area.
“It is difficult because I think it is great that they bring more jobs to the area and it is better than having a coal mine or a nuclear plant,” he said. ‘But I just hate looking at them up there in the distance when I go to Mars Hill and now around town and things.”
Candace Rupley, another Island Falls resident and Protect Our Lakes member, said she knew she could no longer impact change in Oakfield but would continue to speak out to “educate others about what we have learned from our experience.”
Rupley spoke out against the turbines because her family owns two lots on Pleasant Lake in Island Falls and she said she “did not want to see the beautiful scenery blighted by the turbines.”
“I feel people are really only thinking about cash in their pockets,” she said Wednesday. “I think that they are only thinking about jobs and not what the turbines are going to sound like when they are all running.”
Rupley said that some of her neighbors stopped speaking to her because of her opinions about wind power and her involvement in opposing the project’s construction in Oakfield. Davidge said that speaking out has led to repercussions, including abusive online comments and negative reactions toward her in the community.
“But I will never come over to the other side,” Davidge said.