Article

Opposition rises for Ira wind project

Opposition is organizing against a proposed wind project in Ira, a small hilly town southwest of Rutland, with a handful of residents from Ira and surrounding towns meeting last week to discuss their concerns. A company called Vermont Community Wind Farm has proposed putting as many as 60 wind turbines in and around the town of 460 people.

IRA - Opposition is organizing against a proposed wind project in Ira, a small hilly town southwest of Rutland, with a handful of residents from Ira and surrounding towns meeting last week to discuss their concerns.

A company called Vermont Community Wind Farm has proposed putting as many as 60 wind turbines in and around the town of 460 people.

They discussed hiring lawyers, direct mail campaigns and rewriting town plans.

Activist Annette Smith advised the group, although she stressed she was there as a private citizen and not as executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment.

Per White-Hansen, owner of Vermont Community Wind Farm, described his plans at a locally organized forum last month. Following that meeting, Stanley Shapiro of Ira said he and several others were shocked.

"This was like somebody walked up to you and said, 'Guess what, you've got a big tumor and we're going to operate tomorrow,'" he said.

The group of about a dozen came together because they felt there was not enough community engagement in the process.

People at the meeting listed two main concerns - environmental destruction potentially caused by building the towers and attendant roads to... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

IRA - Opposition is organizing against a proposed wind project in Ira, a small hilly town southwest of Rutland, with a handful of residents from Ira and surrounding towns meeting last week to discuss their concerns.

A company called Vermont Community Wind Farm has proposed putting as many as 60 wind turbines in and around the town of 460 people.

They discussed hiring lawyers, direct mail campaigns and rewriting town plans.

Activist Annette Smith advised the group, although she stressed she was there as a private citizen and not as executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment.

Per White-Hansen, owner of Vermont Community Wind Farm, described his plans at a locally organized forum last month. Following that meeting, Stanley Shapiro of Ira said he and several others were shocked.

"This was like somebody walked up to you and said, 'Guess what, you've got a big tumor and we're going to operate tomorrow,'" he said.

The group of about a dozen came together because they felt there was not enough community engagement in the process.

People at the meeting listed two main concerns - environmental destruction potentially caused by building the towers and attendant roads to the site, along with noise and other environmental effects they expect to suffer once the towers are up.

Shapiro and others at the meeting said that they were not opposed to wind power, but the scale of the project is simply too large.

"The level that's proposed here is so great, it would take this environment and simply destroy it," he said.

People at the meeting also said a perceived lack of transparency bothered them, pointing out that White-Hansen has been slow to contact the towns and he has not answered questions about who is financing the project.

Shapiro said a lawyer told him they would need at least $400,000 to fight the development on the legal front, and Smith added that anti-wind activists in Sheffield have spent $750,000 fighting the wind development there.

Smith told the group the Public Service Board has particular ways of gauging local attitudes toward a proposal.

"The only thing that matters is what's in the town plan and what's in the regional plan," she said. "I looked at the Ira town plan energy section and it might as well have been written by Per."

One option, she said, is to rewrite the town plans. Organizers agreed they had time if White-Hansen plans to spend a year gathering data before applying. Smith also said the Vermont Public Service Board, which has to approve the wind power project, will pay attention to a local referendum, though she said Ira was not ready for such a vote.

Marshal Squier of Tinmouth, who organized the April forum, said it was also important the group get a good idea of how Ira as a whole feels.

Jeffrey Wennberg, VCWF's local representative, said Thursday that all the environmental concerns will have to be addressed as part of the permitting process.

Wennberg also understood how people in the area might feel frustrated at a lack of answers from VCWF, but it was early in the process and the company doesn't have some of the answers it will in the future.

He also said a public outreach effort is under way.


Source: http://www.timesargus.com/a...

MAY 4 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/20127-opposition-rises-for-ira-wind-project
back to top