2018-05-25 / Letters

Candidate has grasp of district’s challenges

To the editor,

As we approach local elections on June 12, there is a candidate for Kennebunk Light and Power District board of trustees that I want to draw your attention to, Mr. Albert Kolff.

About two and a half years ago, it came to my attention and many others in our town that there was a major decision to be made by the KLPD board of trustees, one that would affect the community for decades to come. Many of us learned belatedly that groups with outside affiliations had been conversing with the board for many months before there was even a public hearing. These groups expressed a strong interest in removing our dams on what I believe were weak reasons. The most prominent was the cost of replacing power using projections based on inflation assumptions lower than the past 40 years, as well as high costs for fish ladders, despite a respected report recommending much cheaper alternatives on a trial basis.

Many of us with long deep roots in the community felt they had been blindsided when it was discovered the decision to move toward removal of the dams was being made by a board that was heavily pressured by outside interests. Even the overwhelming referendum vote of nearly 70 percent by the Kennebunk voters in November 2016 in support of hydropower production and wanting to continue the current recreation on the Mousam River in Kennebunk was ignored by the trustees at that time, with the current incumbent as its president, and a vote was taken to not renew the FERC license.

Additionally, during the past five years, hydropower production of the dams has gone down 40 percent and maintenance, although budgeted for, has been slow in coming all under the leadership of the incumbent as president of KLPD board. Why is green power being discarded when the current license has four years to run?

From the beginning, Kolff saw the financial and recreational value of the dams and immersed himself in the intricate details of the FERC relicensing process that KLPD will be in the next several years. There is a firm, America First Hydro, that is pursuing a new license. Apparently they see value in hydro production here, as does Mr. Kolff and others like myself. We need Albert Kolff’s new leadership as KLPD trustee to look at all aspects of the dam relicensing issue and all sustainable power.

Kolff’s initiative and intellectual curiosity make him an excellent choice for the energy challenges that lie ahead of the district. His background as a major plan architect for hospitals is the type of experience we need on the KLPD board to insure upcoming KLPD construction costs come in on budget. Albert Kolff is the best choice for Kennebunk residents and ratepayers for KLPD trustee.

Ward Hansen

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