Moratorium on wind

To the Editor:

The ridgeline mountains are often called pristine. Unspoiled might be a better way to describe Vermont's ridge lines. This implies use without abuse or exploitation. Unspoiled, untrammeled or unexploited can no longer apply to the land taken over by industrial wind development. The state of Vermont and especially the Northeast Kingdom are in grave danger of being overwhelmed with more wind projects by wind developers. For developers, ridge lines are only seen as a resource for more wind projects, not as valuable assets to be protected.

It is encouraging that more towns are taking up the charge to save their ridge lines from the destructive intrusion of industrial wind projects. By law, the Public Service Board hearings give more weight to developers' desires than citizens' concerns. Even if a host town and surrounding towns vote against a proposed wind project, that may not stop it. The Public Service Board may encourage a developer to withdraw from a proposed project, but the final decision to proceed or not is left to the developer. Towns that want to slow or stop industrial wind projects may have an uphill battle. Developers will not want to give up that easy money coming from state and federal coffers.

Proponents of Big Wind continue to talk about all the misinformation that is being circulated about industrial scale wind projects. The biggest myth circulated by developers and proponents of Big Wind is that it is free. Big Wind is not. Industrial wind is one of the costliest and least efficient forms of electricity generation there is. In an ideal world industrial wind projects would actually help reduce carbon emissions. If politicians had a desire to reduce the 4% of carbon emissions produced by electricity in Vermont, they would not destroy the ridge lines to get there. The ridge lines with their forested tops and natural wetlands are part of the solution to reducing carbon emissions, not part of the problem. The impervious roads leading up to these wind projects are part of the problem, not the solution.

There is increasing support for a moratorium on industrial wind first introduced to the legislature in February by Energize Vermont. A bill for a wind moratorium, introduced by Sen. Joe Benning (R-Caledonia), resurfaced toward the end of the legislative session. More recently, the NVDA (Northeastern Vermont Development Association) board voted to suspend new industrial wind projects for three years. This would allow for more extensive independent studies of the impacts industrial wind projects have on communities and the natural environment surrounding them, without having to rely on what developers and their lawyers want us to hear. We need a time out from this oppressive giant that threatens our land, our livelihood, and our peace of mind.

Richard Rumery

Newport Center, Vt.

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