May 20, 2013

Yarmouth worries over power plant

Officials say the Wyman Station owner has been unresponsive; taxpayers can expect a hike in rates.

By Kelley Bouchard kbouchard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Wyman Station sits mostly idle on Cousins Island, only used when needed as a backup power generator.

Gabe Souza/File photo

"We're dealing with two major unknowns: what's going on in Augusta and what's going on in Florida," Tupper said.

But Tupper and Town Council Chairman Steve Woods said the tax issue is no longer the town's biggest worry. They fear that NextEra's refusal to discuss its plans for Wyman Station signals a lack of commitment to ensuring that the 122-acre property and its 421-foot smokestack don't become an economic and environmental crisis for the town.

"My concern is they're trying to dump the property and their responsibility to the town of Yarmouth," said Woods. "Yarmouth welcomed and accepted the power plant for more than 50 years. We've been a good town when others have not. Now, when they're done with us, they won't even return our phone calls."

Woods called NextEra's behavior unethical and immoral, noting that the company promises on its website to "establish a cooperative relationship" with communities and maintain that relationship long after projects are completed. Woods said he recently bought a block of NextEra stock so he can submit comments directly to company officials.

Tupper said the town will survive whatever impact the sale of Wyman Station has on Yarmouth's tax base. The town is financially healthy, he said, noting that it sustains positive bond ratings and recently secured a 0.3 percent interest rate on a short-term, $4.3 million loan for a town project.

"It's reasonable that they want to get out of Dodge," Tupper said of NextEra. "Just don't shoot up the town on the way out."

Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

kbouchard@mainetoday.com

 

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