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Wind and vehemence: Vermont Electric Co-op readies for vote

"This is a vote about the Lowell wind project -- absolutely," said Holland, an Irasburg resident and co-op member, who is among those urging members to vote against the transmission line. "The public hasn't been able to participate in this effectively."

To David Hallquist, the vote that Vermont Electric Cooperative members will take this month is about upgrading an outdated, undersized transmission line that his utility must improve.

To Robert "Ron" Holland, the vote is about whether there should be wind turbines atop Lowell Mountain.

The co-op's 34,000 members will vote over the next month whether to allow the electric utility to upgrade its transmission line between Lowell and Jay. Because that transmission line would carry power from a new Green Mountain Power Corp. wind-power project, it carries with it all the controversy of that wind project, which has strong supporters and vehement opponents.

"This is a vote about the Lowell wind project -- absolutely," said Holland, an Irasburg resident and co-op member, who is among those urging members to vote against the transmission line. "The public hasn't been able to participate in this effectively."

"The association between VEC and GMP is a deal that co-op members can't afford to turn down," said Hall- quist, the co-op's chief executive officer, in a letter to members.

Line concern

Co-op... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

To David Hallquist, the vote that Vermont Electric Cooperative members will take this month is about upgrading an outdated, undersized transmission line that his utility must improve.

To Robert "Ron" Holland, the vote is about whether there should be wind turbines atop Lowell Mountain.

The co-op's 34,000 members will vote over the next month whether to allow the electric utility to upgrade its transmission line between Lowell and Jay. Because that transmission line would carry power from a new Green Mountain Power Corp. wind-power project, it carries with it all the controversy of that wind project, which has strong supporters and vehement opponents.

"This is a vote about the Lowell wind project -- absolutely," said Holland, an Irasburg resident and co-op member, who is among those urging members to vote against the transmission line. "The public hasn't been able to participate in this effectively."

"The association between VEC and GMP is a deal that co-op members can't afford to turn down," said Hall- quist, the co-op's chief executive officer, in a letter to members.

Line concern

Co-op members will vote on two other items -- a deal for power with Hydro-Quebec and a change in bylaws -- but the transmission line has generated the most attention. Most co-op votes draw little interest, but in the past year or so, members have become engaged over certain issues, including the Lowell wind project and the purchase of power from the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. In April, the co-op board voted against a deal with Vermont Yankee for power after next year.

Ballots should arrive in members' mailboxes in the coming days. They were preceded by a newsletter from the co-op explaining the process.

Opponents to the Lowell project plan a mailing to co-op members and have bought newspaper advertisements, urging a vote against the transmission line upgrade.

Co-op officials, conscious of the brewing opposition, are also trying to make their case that the utility must upgrade its transmission line and a vote against that is unlikely to kill the wind project. They plan a series of informational meetings throughout the coverage area.

Vermont Electric Co-op vote VOTE

Vermont Electric Cooperative members may vote by returning the ballot being mailed to them this week no later than 10 p.m. July 25 via mail or by returning that ballot in person in the envelope provided to the special meeting at 6 p.m. July 26.

BALLOT ITEMS: Members will vote whether to upgrade the transmission line between Lowell and Jay; approve a power purchase agreement with Hydro-Quebec; and authorize the board to create a method to repay members if payments exceed costs.

INFORMATION: Meetings will be held throughout the co-op's coverage area over the next several weeks, each from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

-- TODAY: Vermont Electric Cooperative, 42 Wescom Road, Johnson.

-- FRIDAY: Mount Mansfield Union High School, Jericho.

-- TUESDAY: Town Hall, Brighton.

-- JULY 13: Richford High School, Richford.

-- JULY 14: North Country Career Center, Newport.

-- JULY 18: Albany Community School, Albany.

CO-OP COVERAGE: Vermont Electric Cooperative serves 34,000 members in 74 Vermont communities, including parts of Chittenden County. For a map of the coverage area, visit www.vermontelectric.coop/pdf/service-territory/FranchiseMap.pdf


Source: http://www.burlingtonfreepr...

JUL 6 2011
http://www.windaction.org/posts/31283-wind-and-vehemence-vermont-electric-co-op-readies-for-vote
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