Article

Just plain scared about wind

Common sense says: Calm down. Let's work on securing the 90 percent of the roof over our heads - that is, let's nail down the 90 percent reliable, low-cost energy we need for the future and figure out energy conservation strategies and ways of meeting our 10 percent renewables energy target other than by destroying Vermont's world-renowned ridge lines.

Proponents of the Sheffield/Sutton UPC Wind Plant have taken to using the phrase "scare tactics" in response to concerns voiced by those opposing the industrialization of the Northeast Kingdom's ridge lines.

Avram Patt, general manager of Washington Electric Cooperative and partner of developer UPC Wind, in letters to statewide newspapers has recently flung that phrase at any who dare to oppose the developer's plan. It was also used by pro-wind Sheffieldian Al Robertson in a recent VPR essay. Such dismissal of legitimate concerns is shortsighted.

"Scare tactics," no. Just plain scared, yes, and with good reason:

1. We fear being "dead right" should the power of big-wind money prevail and our ridge lines are destroyed. The Sheffield/Sutton $100-million-plus project would net $9 million/year for the developer. Even Richard Saudek, the lawyer paid for by UPC Wind to represent Sheffield in negotiations, said at the Nov. 2 Sheffield Board of Selectmen meeting, that Sheffieldians have no idea of the enormity of the community impact of this scale of industrialization.

"Scare tactics," no. Just plain alarmed, yes:

2. Large sums of money are available to developers for public relations and to buy... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
Proponents of the Sheffield/Sutton UPC Wind Plant have taken to using the phrase "scare tactics" in response to concerns voiced by those opposing the industrialization of the Northeast Kingdom's ridge lines.

Avram Patt, general manager of Washington Electric Cooperative and partner of developer UPC Wind, in letters to statewide newspapers has recently flung that phrase at any who dare to oppose the developer's plan. It was also used by pro-wind Sheffieldian Al Robertson in a recent VPR essay. Such dismissal of legitimate concerns is shortsighted.

"Scare tactics," no. Just plain scared, yes, and with good reason:

1. We fear being "dead right" should the power of big-wind money prevail and our ridge lines are destroyed. The Sheffield/Sutton $100-million-plus project would net $9 million/year for the developer. Even Richard Saudek, the lawyer paid for by UPC Wind to represent Sheffield in negotiations, said at the Nov. 2 Sheffield Board of Selectmen meeting, that Sheffieldians have no idea of the enormity of the community impact of this scale of industrialization.

"Scare tactics," no. Just plain alarmed, yes:

2. Large sums of money are available to developers for public relations and to buy support in poor towns.

"Scare tactics," no. Just plain worried, yes:

3. "Environmental studies" funded by developers are neither complete nor objective as the current reservations by the Agency of Natural Resources in the East Mountain proposal document.

"Scare tactics," no. Just plain concerned, yes:

4. Large areas of our ridge lines are being staked out by developers. The proposed Sheffield/Sutton Wind "Farm" would be spread out over eight miles of ridge line and would affect more than 20 other towns.

The land leased for the project is mostly owned by Meadowsend Timberlands, whose financial backer, Bob French, lives in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. His ridge line is protected by the U.S. Park Service and will never be threatened as ours are. Those who see this as a property rights issue are defending the right of someone who lives seven hundred miles away from Sheffield to destroy the property rights of Sheffield and Sutton residents he will never have to look in the eye.

"Scare tactics," no. Just plain reasonable, yes:

5. Our economy is in a large part based on the natural beauty of our state - tourists don't come to see industrial developments. Our valuable "Made in Vermont" brand is our unique natural beauty.

"Scare tactics," no. Just plain vigilant, yes:

6. The identity and integrity of our affected communities are being put at risk by these massively intrusive installations which can't pay for themselves without subsidies and which change hands so rapidly accountability is always at stake (the Waymart, Pa., wind plant has changed hands four times in two years).

Even under the most optimistic projections wind energy would amount to a fraction of the 10 percent renewables target for Vermont's energy mix. Questions about the enormous rush to it are not "scare tactics." In contrast, the following "rush-to-a-decision" kind of pro-wind propaganda is: "Help! Help! The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Quick put a fraction of a 10 percent roof over your heads now!" Never mind that wind energy's little fraction of a fraction produces at 30 percent or less capacity (now we're talking a fraction of a fraction of a fraction). Beware because the "Help! Help! The sky is falling!" alarm is sounded to get us to accept insufficient studies, no reliable plans for decommissioning, no limits on future sell-outs. Such propagated panic equals "scare tactics." Questioning a developer, looking into the developer's history of reliability, educating oneself about the impacts of industrialization, do not.

Common sense says: Calm down. Let's work on securing the 90 percent of the roof over our heads - that is, let's nail down the 90 percent reliable, low-cost energy we need for the future and figure out energy conservation strategies and ways of meeting our 10 percent renewables energy target other than by destroying Vermont's world-renowned ridge lines.

Source: http://www.caledonianrecord...

JAN 9 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/958-just-plain-scared-about-wind
back to top