Library from Vermont
There are thousands of wind opposition groups all over the world. The story is the same everywhere. The audible noise and inaudible low frequency and infrasound are driving people from their homes. People do not abandon their homes for no reason. Noise from these big machines can extend three to six miles in mountainous terrain, with residents within 2 miles most at risk.
"I thought at first they were testing the F-35 fighter, roaring right over the mountain," said Mr. Potter, who estimates that he lives between a mile and a half and two miles from the turbines. "It sounded like a jet airplane over there," said Frank Coulter, a town selectman who lives three miles east of the turbines on the Center Hill Road. A half mile further east in Albany Center, David Lawrence said: "It was like a jet plane all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday."
The signatures represent about 17 households, all of them east of Lowell Mountain. Nelson said the wind on Saturday and Sunday was blowing from the northwest. The signers include the chairman and one member of the Albany Selectboard. At Green Mountain Power, spokeswoman Dotty Schnure said the utility had received one complaint related to the weekend noise.
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.
A new state commission has begun to wade into the contentious debate over where Vermont builds energy projects. Critics say the state's ridgelines are at risk from industrial-scale wind development. But the panel will confine its review to the permitting process and will not examine the state's overall goals for renewable energy.
The developer is challenging the applicability of the amended Newark Town Plan as the PSB reviews the MET tower application for the one station planned for Newark. An attorney for the Vermont Department of Public Service has told the PSB that the amended Newark Town Plan should be relied on in the decision, since the developer had not properly notified all abutters and there was a stay on the CPG application.
This week, when confronting criticisms about industrial wind's assault of Vermont's mountains, he lashed out at critics, calling them "the committee against virtually everything." Vermont needs an urgent and informed debate for dealing with climate change. Yet it is hard to have such a discussion when Vermonters who adopt views contrary to the governor's are dismissed with an imperial wave of the hand.
While the commission was asked to include all kinds of energy generation projects in its review, it is wind turbines that have caused the most widespread controversy in Vermont. Although three commercial projects have been built, and a third is under construction, there has been rising opposition in towns where new projects have been proposed.
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).
Judge Martin Maley has denied the request by the Lowell six wind opponents for acquittal of the jury conviction against them for trespassing or for dismissal of the charges. Maley's ruling Friday means that the Lowell six protesters will have to appeal to the Vermont Supreme Court to see their convictions overturned.
The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) has issued the first permit of its kind for a wind project in the state allowing a small number of fatalities of endangered bats, which could collide with the turbine blades or be affected by the pressure changes created by the rotating turbines.
This is not the end of the hearing process. The PSB is still considering appeals over the stormwater runoff plans and water quality plans. The opponents said they will appeal. Green Mountain Power wants to have all of its 459-foot-tall turbines on the ridgeline operating by year's end to secure $44 million in federal production tax credits.
Newark residents voted 169-59 last month to amend their town plan to oppose "industrial scale generation and transmission facilities" in the community. The amendments also barred commercial structures taller than 125 feet, which would rule out Eolian's wind-measuring tower.
Luann and Steve Therrien have been complaining since the spring about how noise from the turbines is impacting their family's sleep and more. ..."At Baily's [Luann's daughter] last doctor's visit, I voiced my concerns and she advised me move," she said. ...And Seager's [their toddler son] behavior is not good when the towers are loud." Special thanks to the Cal-Rec for permitting us to post this article in full.
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 Public Service Board will decide on the test tower application. But last week, the state Department of Public Service -- a separate entity -- made news by urging the board to reject Atlantic Wind's proposal because it is "wholly contrary" to Windham's town regulations. Specifically, Windham's town plan bans commercial wind turbines.
State utility regulators will hold a hearing to decide if Green Mountain Power should face financial penalties for shipping turbine parts across northwestern Vermont to the Lowell wind site without proper local approval.
The lingering public perception of gentle Dutch-style windmills in the countryside does not match wind’s stark reality, critics say. Turbines are industrial machines that can exceed the height of the Statue of Liberty, and they’re increasingly financed by subsidiaries of Big Energy giants such as BP and Florida Power & Light.
"It's the department's position that the board has to heed the town plan in a situation like this," Miller asserts, "Because the town has gone through a considered and deliberative process in coming up with this town plan to determine that it doesn't want commercial development in these regions."
The administration of Gov. Peter Shumlin is drawing fire from wind energy supporters for coming out in opposition to a possible wind energy project in the southern Vermont town of Windham.