Library filed under General from Vermont
The deeper, difficult questions to the voters are whether the project's initial community wide benefit has been realized. Whether, after turbine operation curtailment, noise tests, health testimonials, the Wind Turbine Option Process and countless town meetings, if any residual community wide benefit exists? Unfortunately, there is none. The question is no longer whether Wind I and Wind II inflict unacceptable levels of harm upon Blacksmith Shop Road or Craggy Ridge neighbors.
Senators took a bill that called for a three-year moratorium on large-scale wind developments, pared it down to legislation that would have required large energy generation projects to conform to Act 250 land-use criteria, and then stripped it to $75,000 worth of studies for the House to consider.
"The basic fact is just to make a small dent-- a few percent of the energy demand in the Northeast and virtually nothing in the Southeast-- you would have to develop thousands of miles of ridgeline. You'd be talking about devastating impacts to the mountaintops due to bulldozing and blasting," Luce said.
Two members of the public grilled the town's Selectboard on Tuesday with questions about the planning commission and a meeting between the board's chairman and a representative from an energy company constructing a test tower.
Stone, who owns G. Stone Motors in Middlebury, said Friday the condition in the agreement was his way out, but other factors also contributed to his family pulling their support. "The main reason was they stopped paying the rent of the land," Stone said. "But I was not aware of the devastation on the mountain they were going to have."
Vermont Electric Cooperative will oppose any large new wind project in northern Vermont, including Seneca Mountain Wind, CEO David Hallquist says. That's because existing wind projects have introduced instability in the grid, prompting grid operator ISO-New England to order existing wind projects in Vermont and New Hampshire to cut back or "curtail" electricity output.
He said opponents of the bill "threw huge amounts of money" into defeating S.30. He added he was shocked by the hypocrisy of the renewable energy movement that expressed interest in preserving a clean environment but opposes Act 250 environmental oversight of large scale renewable energy projects.
"I would have preferred to get the protections for the towns," Senate Natural Resources & Energy Committee Chairman Robert Hartwell, D-Bennington, said, but he added, "We'll be back. This is going to continue. It was a good debate." The Senate is due to vote again on the newly revised bill, likely Thursday, when attempts could be made to change the bill again before sending it to the House.
John Ewing, a former chairman of the state environmental board, says the issue has badly divided environmentalists. He supports the Senate bill. ...If there were "a more adequate environmental review and the impact on aesthetics that Act 250 provides, and opportunity for citizen participation that Act 250 provides, that would make a big difference and I think a lot of the conflicts that we see now and the gridlock would go away if we had a proper process," Ewing said.
Following more than an hour of discussion on an article regarding proposed commercial wind development here, voters at Grafton's annual Town Meeting on Tuesday overwhelmingly agreed to table it "as if it never existed," according to Moderator Bill Kearns.
By a vote of 88-12, residents of this Northeast Kingdom hill town voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to raise the tax rate by about a nickel to defend their community's opposition to placing commercial wind turbines on a local ridgeline.
When wind energy is on the agenda at tax-decision time, it's a matter of for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer.
Sen. Peter Galbraith, D-Windham, Sen. Robert Hartwell, D-Bennington, and Sen. Joe Benning, R-Caledonia/Orange, said they were concerned about the development of Vermont's ridgelines by commercial wind developers and the lack of local control in the decision-making process.
Barton Chronicle editor Chris Braithwaite said Tuesday afternoon he planned to drop a lawsuit against the company after it promised to compensate him $22,500 for legal fees he racked up defending himself against a previously dismissed trespassing charge.
Under current law, energy projects go through the Public Service Board for approval, which must consider Act 250 criteria but may approve the projects if the board thinks they meet the overall public good. The revised bill would require renewable energy projects to conform to Vermont's Act 250 land-use planning regulations.
Friends of Grafton's Heritage has invited legislators and residents of towns with wind turbines to discuss the issues related to industrial wind farms. A public information meeting will be held on Friday, March 1, at 6:30 p.m. in the Grafton Elementary School on School Street.
Saturday's meeting included experts on both sides of the issue who stated their cases as Grafton and Windham decide how they are going to proceed with the controversial issue. The large crowd filled the gym at the Grafton Elementary School as one side, and then the other, showed slides, presented data and talked about the benefits, and dangers of large-scale wind power.
The power of the wind energy controversy is continually growing in Vermont, but in Lesley Becker's new play, "Winds of Change," it's downright war. ..."Winds of Change" dramatizes some of Vermonters' biggest challenges.
Green Mountain Power wants permission to install equipment that will boost the amount of electricity that its Lowell wind turbines can put out in the New England grid. GMP, like other wind power generators, is seeing its wind capacity curtailed by ISO-New England, which runs the New England electricity grid.
McKibben does seem to have a problem with the neighbors who express concerns about these wind turbines and apparently hasn't been shy in expressing his views about these folks. This thinking doesn't sound much like an environmentalist to me. What's next for Mckibben, chiding Vermont farmers to get rid of their tractors and go back to using mules for plowing?