Impact on Wildlife and Vermont
Wright captured the bird's-eye view of the development from between 500 and 1000 feet above the construction site, where GMP is rushing to complete the wind project by the end of the calendar year. Wright finds himself on one side of a fierce debate over wind power in Vermont that pits environmentalists worried about habitat destruction against environmentalists worried about renewable energy.
The health of black bears on two remote ridgelines in southern Vermont has emerged as a key issue in the decision on whether to permit 17 wind turbines in the Green Mountain National Forest. ..."The proposed project construction and other associated human activities represents a potentially huge adverse impact to the black bears and their habitat at a level far above any that ANR has ever allowed to be permitted," state wildlife biologist Forrest Hammond said in testimony filed with the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB).
Vermonters for a Clean Environment (VCE), along with the Wilderness Society and Defenders of Wildlife, are trying to block the plan. VCE recently filed a motion for summary judgment in US District Court, claiming the project planning did not correctly carry out evaluation processes required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Although the Public Service Board granted the Deerfield Wind Project a certificate of public good, there remains a lot of work ahead. Now the wind project must obtain approval from federal and state agencies, and officials say it may be another year before construction of the wind turbines can commence. ...According to U.S. Forest Service supervisor Meg Mitchell, the forest service is reviewing the PSB decision. Mitchell said the forest service is also looking at submitted comments from the draft environmental impact statement.
Sitting shoulder to shoulder in the portrait room at the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, community members listened intently to panelists before engaging in a somewhat heated debate about windmills and nature. Lights were dimmed as images emerged of Don Quixote's jousting windmills and of dead bats to illustrate the wind-energy debate.
The presentation, titled "Windmills: Viewed through the lens of art, science, and animal impact" included panelists Patrick Marold, Thomas Tailer and Scott Darling in this culminating event of a three-part series, "The Energy Project Vermont," a partnership between ECHO and Burlington City Arts with the support of University of Vermont.