2017-01-06 / Letters

‘Scare tactics’ still being floated

To the editor:

In a recent Post issue, Landis Hudson, the paid executive director of the Maine Rivers special interest group, and not a resident of Kennebunk, wrote a letter criticizing our citizens for not understanding the costs in removing our hydro dams (her group advocates their destruction).

She made a similar argument at a Kennebunk Light and Power District meeting intimating that we, in Kennebunk, needed a proper education and she and her Maine Rivers group had all the answers we’d need.

In her letter, she mentioned that Maine Rivers had done a workshop for more than 100 townspeople who became “enlightened” becoming in favor of removing our green renewable energy source. Ironically, she forgot to mention the 5,000- plus townspeople who voted overwhelmingly to keep the dams and generation of hydro in our recent election.

Hudson’s biggest concern was well taken focusing on what the decision would do to the ratepayers pocketbooks. Interestingly, the Save the Mousam group of town volunteers has two certified public accountants as members.

They, and an architect in the group, used what accurate data was available in the consultant Wright-Pierce report, identified missing revenue and what they saw as “unusual” accounting, and found that dam destruction will ultimately cost users more that upgrading and re-licensing.

The Save the Mousam group has not been satisfied with just having our professional members look at the numbers generated. Instead we’re having an independent auditor, paid for at our expense, verify the findings.

The results, however, seem clear. Removing the dams has a plethora of hidden costs.

For example, one expert has told us that reclamation of the banks for safety could cost up to $100 a foot. Drilling under the sediment up and down the river will also be expensive, as will removal of potentially toxic chemicals now hidden under that sediment.

Relicensing has a cost but each entity like these outsider groups, by raising their concerns with the licensing body, will add to the cost and KLPD will be forced to pay for it.

The bottom line is that we can retain our beautiful recreational river and the renewable energy it provides at a minimal cost over the 40 years of the next license.

We even have groups interested in taking over the dam operations because they believe that they can actually generate a profit with newer technology and still be competitive with the rates we get from electricity we purchase from the grid.

So the scare tactics are still trumpeted by the outsiders and will likely continue. However, we can do what Landis Hudson’s own hometown of Yarmouth did, which was to take control themselves and decide to keep their dams.

David A. Wayne
Kennebunk

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