If the criteria were objective or the environmental protection standards were consistent, then either the towers would have to go or the cross could clearly stay ...Instead Vermont has created a regulatory climate in which the aesthetic impact of a project is decided by political favor.
This needs to be said. The Free Press Editorial Board continues to strongly oppose wind turbines that damage and mar the state's ridgelines, and fervently hopes that state regulators agree and put Vermont's undeveloped landscape first in this matter. But this Editorial Board welcomes a thoughtful discussion about other options for turbine location -- the Searsburg towers prove that Vermont-scale opportunities exist -- and other methods of generating clean, renewable energy.
In the town of Searsburg the private citizens own about 20% of the land and the rest belongs to the power companies,the state, and the National Forest. That extremely limits our growth as a town, yet they continue to destroy more forest land in the name of public good. ...This project is expected to cost over $60 million to build and destroy 80 acres of prime pristine forest land. How can you justify the cost with the return? Is there a price on our National Forests? Is there a price on the people's lives that live nearby that will surely be changed by the noise and lights? Is there a price on the many others who will see the nine to 12 red flashing lights from a distance in the night sky? They paint a rosy picture, but is it?
I ask you all, Is this in the public good?
The principal problem with the Iberdrola proposal is that it involves not one but 15 structures, each of which is far higher than the Bennington Battle Monument: 389 feet high to the tip of the blade. These would be not on a promontory but on top of a prominent ridgeline and would be seen for many miles and lighted at night for aviation safety.
Too bad the Public Service Board approved UPC Wind's application to construct 16 420-foot-tall wind turbines in Sheffield, where people all over the Northeast Kingdom will have to see these monsters. (Remember, they're bigger than the Bennington Battlefield Monument.)
The economics are lousy. The threat to our tourism industry is real and substantial.
It strikes me that the folks who would put such things on our ridge tops would probably also spray foam insulation on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel to increase its R value.
It is also clear that to be green we do not have to destroy our views, our quality of life and the very character of Vermont that makes it special. VCWF's project would require significant deforestation, habitat loss, noise pollution, losses in property values, damage views both day and night, require mountaintop blasting, and decrease quality of life for the area.
Industrial wind turbines capture the imagination because they are a visible symbol that we are doing something about the environment. But in fact they are a boondoggle. They have a negligible effect on the environment, while wasting money that might be better spent elsewhere, damaging Vermont's rural landscape (itself a significant economic asset) and transferring a ton of money from the pockets of Vermont taxpayers to the bank accounts of the developers.
Would the PSB or any sane person allow any type of efficient base load generating facility to be built on these high elevation ridge lines? Obviously not. Then how could anyone allow an inefficient unreliable generating facility, visible for miles and close to residences and wetlands, to be built there?
If Shumlin is indeed seeking the best interests for our state and not pandering to paid-for-political power, he can and should reflect upon industrial wind under the circumspection of the economic, ecological, and social damage caused by the broken promises from Yankee. There is a better, more thoughtful choice. A choice that begins with an immediate moratorium on industrial wind.
The statement that the project "is expected to begin moving forward soon" is incorrect, unless the reporter knows something I do not.
The Public Service Board's decision is pending this fall but a number of interveners are currently fighting the project before the PSB, including Save Vermont Ridgelines.
Should this project be approved, one of the largest bear habitats in Vermont will be destroyed. As this is the first wind project proposed on national forest land, it will pave the way for similar projects in other national forests, such as those currently proposed in Virginia, West Virginia, and Michigan.
The subsidies for wind are a misuse of public money. The "benefits" from industrial wind are a fantasy and an escape from our energy problems. For me, believing that industrial wind will solve our energy problems is a little like believing the Tooth Fairy will pay my heating bills this winter.
Today, we are confronted by the crisis of climate change. Descriptions are so fearful, confusing, and occasionally contradictory that it's hard to know what to think. We each try to do what we can to reduce our personal impact on the earth, and ponder how to preserve the planet from a catastrophic fate that could be imminent and irreversible.
For many people, renewable energy has become the panacea: producing power from wind, trees, grasses, and the sun.
While he has supported smaller scale wind power projects, Douglas stood against industrial wind turbines on the mountaintops. The governor has taken heat for this position, but he's right. Vermont's undeveloped ridgelines are a precious treasure to be protected always.
Maybe you also found it a tad incongruous that Gov. Douglas, who has bravely gone on the record as being against the development of wind farms on Vermont's mountain ridges, should appear at a photo op with a top official of one of the cellular phone companies and enthusiastically tout (essentially) removing all regulations for the emplacement of cell phone towers because said officials are whining about a six-month regulatory process.
Sen. Doyle's 2006 survey question asking if people were "for wind power" was about as simplistic and hence as useless as asking, "Do you want more money?"
No matter what Vermont Secretary of State Deb Markowitz and the UPC attorney, Richard Saudek, think and despite any precedent, the Board of Selectmen of the Town of Sheffield has, in my view, committed unconscionable act in driving forward into complex negotiations with UPC for massive wind turbine emplacements without even having been directed to do so by the electorate. Due process has been seriously usurped.