2017-06-16 / Letters

Setting the record straight

To the editor:

Nice try Mr. Flynn, but again you are wide of the mark. I wasn’t going to respond to your last letter in the Post since it was so effectively dismantled by those of Ward Hansen and Beth Krott, but since you have accused me, without any exemplification of resorting to distortion in decrying the KLPD’s evident mismanagement of the Town’s hydroelectric assets, I simply couldn’t resist.

If my comparison of the efficiency rates between hydropower and solar is the basis for his accusations, it would appear that his comprehension of this admittedly complex issue is about as shallow as the Mousam is going to be after he, the Sierra Club, Maine Rivers, River Alliance (to name a few), get what they want: an environmental victory. The essential consideration between hydropower and solar is not about the nuts and bolts of moving parts but their capacity for electrical output.

Flynn thinks this is ludicrous? Efficiency rates usually determine which furnace to buy or the best way to heat a home, fuel efficiency in choosing a vehicle—it’s about getting the biggest bang for your buck.

In surrendering their license and contracting with solar, the trustees threw away a greater source of power (four times greater), which we already own and have been running strong for over 150 years, for a considerably lesser one, making us the indentured servants of an out-of-state provider who will jack up our rates at the first opportunity for a faster return on their investments, just like all the other purchase agreements that have been executed in Maine. How’s that for affordability and sustainability?

But Mr. Flynn was certainly right about one thing: no, I do not believe anything that is said or done by the KLPD. Why? Let me count the ways: the unveiling the Mousam River Project by John Burrows before the Portland Chapter of Trout Unlimited back in Nov. 2011 and their subsequent courtship with KLPD two years before the public became aware of it in 2013; then the election of environmentalist Jay Kilbourn to the Board in 2013, who soon after being seated, obtained a thumbdrive with privileged information from previous executive sessions. Who did he give it to and why?

The selection of an environmental consulting firm (Wright-Pierce) with no hydroelectric expertise to prepare the Alternatives Report based on information provided by the KLPD with input from the MKRA. Why wasn’t a leading hydroelectric firm like Kleinschmidt in Falmouth selected?

The omission of the income generated by the dams in preparing this report; cost analysis based only on one year of production rather than an average over the last 35 years with totals available in the annual Town reports; a written reply in 2016 from general manager Todd Shea about the price tag for the WP report as $33,000+/- when the actual figure was eight times that amount ($250,000); withholding the 2011 Alden fish report for five years; the omission of the estimated $1 million for river bank stabilization after dam removal caught by the GZA review; delays in the posting of minutes, agendas and evasion to our requests for public information; the blatant redaction of the public comments flipping the results to show a majority in favor of dam removal in early 2016; dereliction in the maintenance to our hydroelectric assets; and now entering into a solar agreement without seeking any input from their ratepayers.

After attending nearly all of their public meetings for the last two years and watching how they operate, even Mr. Flynn might understand why I have no faith in the senior members of the Board of Trustees. Beth Krott was right on the mark in writing that the KLPD has failed us.

I would even say they have betrayed us, without the slightest compunction in doing so. Devoid of any fidelity to their commission, the Town, or the residents; KLPD has thrown us under the bus to cater to the relentless agenda of the environmentalists and Kilbourn’s well known interests in the solar industry.

Unfortunately there is currently no mechanism for recalling untrustworthy trustees. Section 9 of their charter also stipulates that they cannot be held liable for any acts committed in the performance of their duties; however, they can be held liable for acts which constitute malfeasance in office—actions legally unjustified or which violate the public trust.

Now there’s a happy thought!

Shawn Teague
Kennebunk

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