An Excerpt: The enormous costs associated with industrial wind development
My academic specialty for over forty years has been research on long-term climate change and its effects of ecosystems.
There is no question that there are enormous costs associated with industrial wind development. We are not merely installing wind turbines; we are destroying mountain ranges. The damage is physical, in terms of geological and hydrologic effects. It is biological, in that it destroys critical habitat and migration routes, and it is aesthetic and cultural, not least in that it has caused deep divisions in the environmental community—divisions that play directly into the hands of corporate interests whose roots lie outside Vermont.
Over a generation ago, the conservation community applauded [Vermont's] Act 250 and its commitment to protect areas that lie above the 2,500 foot elevation level. The main developer and supporter of this concept, Dr. Hub Vogelmann, made a strong pitch that the lower limit should be 2,000 feet. There is good reason for his suggestion. The peaks and ridges of our lesser mountain ranges are the most pristine environments and ecosystems in Vermont. They are too low to have been built up for ski areas and too far off the beaten path to support major hiking trail systems. They are too high and cold, and have too little soil, ever to have supported agriculture, and they are generally too precipitous and the trees too small to have been heavily logged.
These areas support the most extensive boreal forest ecosystems in the state. They are critical for species such as lynx and pine marten, which are repopulating Vermont after a long absence. The ridges sustain air currents that make them critical for the migration of many birds, especially hawks and eagles. The effect of wind turbines on these flight patterns, and bird mortality, are not yet known.