Battling a monster
To the Editor:
In an era of over consumption and instant gratification, it is getting harder to find people who are even aware of the environment around them to say nothing about a desire or incentive to cherish and protect it. The Green Mountain Club and the Sierra Club stand out as two organizations who have helped protect it. It is somewhat troubling and hypocritical that they have turned their backs on the Sheffield and Lowell wind projects and at the same time rail against the same kinds of projects on public lands. The state government and utilities are sending mixed messages about the future of Big Wind in Vermont. As they are pushing other wind projects forward. Now that an important part of the Sheffield and Lowell ridgelines are destroyed beyond recognition, the head of the Department of Public Service and the CEO of Vermont Electric are saying maybe we have enough Big Wind for now.
In their rush to keep wind projects on the fast track, the Public Service Board and the Agency of Natural Resources have all but lost any credibility they might have had before. If the Public Service Board was once intended to serve the public, it now serves the utilities. The Agency of Natural Resources designed to protect the environment now serves the Governor and enables the utilities. Both agencies have lost their independence, in part because of the Governor's symbiotic relationship with Green Mountain Power. This seems to be very clear in the lack of due process leading up to the approval of the Lowell Wind Project and the recent mitigation over wildlife habitat. Solely on the advice of the Agency of Natural Resources the Public Service Board gave their approval. This was a year long project. The study of the viability and impact of this land swap should have taken at least that long.
People sometimes ask me if any of the wind towers have been built yet. What they don't seem to realize is what a huge project this is. The state and utilities have purposely underplayed the size of these industrial wind projects along with their impacts on the environment and surrounding communities. This is major construction!! This is a major industrial development!! What kind of "carbon footprint" is all this construction leaving on Lowell Mountain? Is this what they mean by a "working landscape." The monster we are battling now is much larger than the Goliath of David's time. It has many arms and heads from the federal government to our state government and the utilities they worship. It will take more than a handful of protesters to bring about it's demise, but our numbers are growing.
Hiking up the East side of the Lowell ridgeline can be a transformative experience. I find it disturbing that the policy-makers and bureaucrats in Montpelier have made no attempt to see the effects and impacts their short-sighted and overblown policies are making on this precious resource. Is this the legacy we want to leave our grandchildren? Future generations will look at our decimated mountains and the golgothic, rusty and non-functioning wind mills our politicians and utilities have covered them with and ask themselves, "What were they thinking?"
Newport Center, Vt.