Lowell wind project nears completion amid noise complaints

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The Lowell Mountain wind towers as seen from Irish Hill. Photo by Bethany M. Dunbar

by Chris Braithwaite

copyright the Chronicle 11-28-2012

LOWELL — All 21 turbines of the Kingdom Community Wind project have generated power, a spokesman for Green Mountain Power said Tuesday.  And with the project making power, it has beaten the December 31 deadline to qualify for federal production tax credits that should total between $40-million and $48-million over the next ten years, said the spokesman, Dorothy Schnure.

She emphasized that “every penny” of the tax credits “goes to lower the cost of power for our customers.”

Ms. Schnure stopped short of saying the project is complete.  “We still have some fine tuning work to do on them,” she said of the turbines.

Meanwhile complaints about noise continue to be heard from the project’s neighbors.  And the distances the turbines’ sound can travel continues to surprise people.

Mary Davis, who lives about four miles east in Albany, across the valley of the Black River and a little east of Page Pond, said she heard them early Monday morning.

“I was taking the old dog out for a three o’clock stroll,” Ms. Davis said.  “She’s almost 15, and when she’s got to go, she’s got to go.”

Ms. Davis found the sound novel, but hard to describe.  “It was just something different,” she said.

“It must be awful” for the project’s close neighbors, Ms. Davis commented, “if you can hear it this far back.”

On the other side of Lowell Mountain, on the Farm Road, one such neighbor arrived home from his overseas job late last week.

“At approximately 3 on the morning of November 25 I along with four of my house guests were woken by thumping noise that lasted for over two hours coming from the wind turbines behind my home,” Kevin McGrath wrote in an e-mail to Susan Paruch, a consumer affairs specialist at the state Department of Public Service.

“The noise was similar to a heavy object rotating in a clothes dryer,” Mr. McGrath wrote.  “Later on that morning at about 10 the noise levels penetrated my home and sounded like a waterfall gushing directly behind my home.”

Mr. McGrath lives in one of about 50 structures that sit inside a “1.5 mile buffer” drawn around the project by RSG, Inc., the White River Junction firm that drafted the final sound monitoring protocol for Green Mountain Power.  His home is also one of about 19 structures within a smaller zone where, RSG estimates, turbine sound will reach between 40 and 45 decibels outside the home.

In granting the project a certificate of public good, the state Public Service Board set sound limits at 45 decibels outside neighboring homes, and 30 decibels in their bedrooms.

The extended family of Don and Shirley Nelson celebrated Thanksgiving in their farmhouse, which also sits well inside the 40-to-45-decibel zone.

Among the 19 people present, Mr. Nelson said Monday, two suffered migraine headaches, and some thought their ears were going to pop.  “Some of their stomachs didn’t feel right,” Mr. Nelson said, “and I don’t think it was Shirley’s cooking.”

“Shirley can hear it in the house,” he said of the turbine sound.  “Her ears are ringing all the time now.  They never did before.  If we go away two or three hours, it stops.”

Mr. Nelson, who was one of the migraine sufferers, said it’s impossible to know what causes such a headache.  He added that he expects complaints from his household to be discounted by Green Mountain Power and state officials, because the couple has fought to stop the project since it was proposed.

At Green Mountain Power, Ms. Schnure said the utility has received two more noise complaints since a particularly noisy weekend surprised many Albany residents in early November.  Both of the recent complaints came from hunters, she said.

“If people have concerns about undue noise they should talk to us,” Ms. Schnure said.

The Public Service Board imposed strict noise limits on the project, she said, “and we will meet those standards.”

contact Chris Braithwaite at chris@bartonchronicle.com

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Brighton selectmen poll voters and taxpayers on industrial wind

Wind towers on Lowell Mountain, as seen from Irish Hill Road. Photo by Bethany M. Dunbar

by Richard Creaser

copyright the Chronicle 11-21-2012

ISLAND POND — Within the next few days every registered voter and property taxpayer in the town of Brighton can expect to receive a ballot in the mail.  That ballot asks the recipient whether or not they favor, oppose or remain undecided on the issue of industrial wind projects on ridgelines within the town.  Though the results of the balloting are non-binding, the town’s selectmen agreed that they would support the majority decision expressed by respondents.

The ballots were mailed on Tuesday and must be postmarked no later than December 7 to be included in the voting.  The selectmen agreed to wait a few extra days for any wayward ballots but only those mailed on or before the due date will be eligible for consideration.

Ensuring the integrity of the balloting process was paramount, chairman of the selectmen Melinda Gervais said.  Each envelope provided with the ballot contains the return address of the recipient allowing town officers to check off the voter or taxpayer.

The ballot within will be kept folded before being secured in a locked ballot box stored in the vault in the basement of the municipal office, Ms. Gervais said.  Only Town Clerk Teresa Potwin has access to the key that opens the vault, she added.

“We’re doing everything we can to make sure no one can get in there and stuff the ballot box,” Ms. Gervais said.  “We want this to represent the wishes of this town.”

Earlier in the evening the selectmen were asked what measures the town would take to protect the people of the town from possible negative effects of industrial wind turbines.  Resident Kathleen Nelson expressed her concern that oversight of the developers is sorely lacking.  The Public Service Board, she said, appears to have no interest at all in evaluating the financial capability of developers.  If a project fails or produces negative effects, would the taxpayers of the town become responsible for making reparations, she asked.

“How are you going to stop these people from ruining everything I’ve worked so hard to build?” Ms. Nelson said.  “What are you going to do to protect me?”

It is difficult to say what steps the town can take considering the project has not even passed the met tower stage, Ms. Gervais said.  Protecting the public is a job best suited to the regulators both at the state and federal level, Selectman James Webb said.

“I guess that’s where the state and whatever regulations they have come into play,” Mr. Webb said.  “As long as they follow the rules, I don’t see what we can do.”

The state’s interest in protecting the public seems tenuous at best, resident Joe Arborio said.  The Public Service Board makes its decisions without ever needing to accept any responsibility for the outcomes of those decisions, he said.

“If it goes wrong they have no responsibility,” Mr. Arborio said.  “It’s what I imagine living in a dictatorship would be like — here it is, deal with it.”

Evaluating the financial stability of a developer falls outside of the town’s jurisdiction, Brighton Administrative Assistant Joel Cope said.  As long as the developer comes in with the money in hand there is no reason for the town to become involved, he said.  It would be different, however, if the developer sought the town’s support for a grant, Mr. Cope added.

“If the town became involved in the financing of a project we would certainly involve an attorney and closely review the risk,” Mr. Cope said.

Ms. Nelson also expressed concern about the potential for the town to become mired in litigation should the developer fail to live up to its promises.  Given the problems that have surfaced around other wind projects both in Vermont and around the nation, the potential for the town needing to litigate seems high, Pam Arborio said.

“I think this is going to end up in the judicial arena before it’s all over,” Ms. Arborio said.

While some people have come forward to express concerns about the negative effect wind turbines would have on the town, those fears represent only half of the issue, Selectman Mike Worth said.

“The other half will be asking what we’re going to do to promote renewable energy in this state,” Mr. Worth said.  “That’s why we’re doing this survey — so we can find out what the majority of people want.  I will do what the town supports.”

Ms. Gervais concluded the discussion with a pledge to give serious consideration to all sides of the issue.  What stance the selectmen will adopt going forward will be heavily influenced by the outcome of the balloting.

“We all have our own opinions about this but we’re willing to put that aside and represent the people of this town,” Ms. Gervais said.  “We’re trying to prepare and get our information ready for when the project finally comes down.”

 Bollard crashes

 In other business the selectmen gave thought as to how to prevent drivers from crashing into the concrete posts that delineate travel lanes at the Rail Depot building.  The large, immovable yellow posts have been struck no less than seven times in recent months.  The posts were originally placed there to prevent tall vehicular traffic from crashing into and tearing off the canopy roof adjacent to the Community National Bank’s drive through.

“We thought we were fixing one problem but ended up creating another,” Ms. Gervais lamented.

The trouble with the posts, or bollards as they are properly known, is that they can easily disappear in the blind spots of larger trucks and SUVs, Mr. Worth said.  Indeed, he also admitted that he has experienced near misses of his own with the bollards.

The selectmen authorized Mr. Cope to investigate the purchase of curbing to provide at least some warning to vehicles before they strike the posts.

contact Richard Creaser at nek_scribbler@hotmail.com

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On wind: let’s go against the national trend of polarization

Editors,

The citizens of the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and Vermont as a whole are embroiled in a seriously divisive battle over the region’s ridgelines and the mountaintops, as big business attempts to line them with industrial wind turbines.  Neighbors and former friends are at odds and there is little middle ground between those who despise the very thought of gigantic structures lining the mountaintops and those who see the wind turbines as the solution to all our energy and global warming challenges.

I don’t know!  I have read widely on the issues and although there is ample argument put forth both for and against these projects, I cannot decide; is it good?  Is it bad?  Is it like most issues in which there are elements of both?  I do know that I would feel better if I thought these wind projects were being done for Vermonters rather than for the political expediency of the politicians and GMP.…

As I look out on every clear day from my home, on the opposite ridge, to observe the construction of the Lowell wind project I am amazed at the human endeavor that has been able over the past 15 months turn a mountain range into a commercial entity of this magnitude.  I have made 31 hikes to the mountaintops at every vantage point from the southernmost point to the northernmost point, a distance of three and a half miles, in order to see for myself the entire impact.

During that same period my wife and I have made nearly the same number of trips off trail behind Mount Pisgah, in Westmore, “Searching for Arcadia.”  The Arcadia Retreat was a large and elegant hotel built to cater to artists and writers and the like.  It was built on a 400-acre farm that had been cleared and included house, barn and outbuildings.  The hotel, built in 1895, burned down around 1923, was built way up high at 2,200 feet of elevation on Mt. Pisgah.  Although the Arcadia Retreat could be seen for miles with what was described in the advertising of the day, as expansive lawns, and although it was built on massive stone foundations, and although I already knew where it was, it took me 18 hikes to the site with maps, compass, and the assistance of Google Earth, before I could assure myself I had definitely found it.  I wonder if in the early 1890s the residents of the area supported the project or did they complain about taking a fine farm and ruining it with a luxury hotel for wealthy ner-do-wells?  Again, I don’t know, but I do know that there is almost nothing there today to show for that human activity.

I am not equating the changes made by horse, ox, and hand on Mt. Pisgah, to what modern equivalents have done with 30-40 gigantic earth machines and three quarters of a million pounds of explosives to the top of the Lowell Mountain ridgeline, but I am asking that people consider the loss of community and relationships to be on par with our loss of a natural resource as represented by a “pristine” ridgeline.  In my 30 trips up essentially all sides of the mountain range I have observed cellar holes, very old stumps from logging, log roads, old fences, stone cairns, old metal gas and oil cans, and three very old cream cans, one on the very top of the ridge just north of the northernmost turbine.  I observed, near the southern end between turbine 1 and 3 what appeared to be a four-to-six-acre rectangle of maple trees sitting right on top of the ridge and which appeared to have been cultivated there by some past steward of the land.  I have followed the Catamount Trail over the ridge from Lowell and south down along the eastern side of the ridge on its way to Craftsbury.  Not the least bit incidentally that trail basically parallels the famous Bayley-Hazen Road that was slashed through the truly pristine forest more than 230 years ago.…

I am proud of the stubborn Vermonters, both those who were born here and those who moved here for the love of it and became Vermonters.  I am proud to be in a place where people will fight for what they believe is their right to use and protect their land and where they are willing to perform civil disobedience to stand for their beliefs.

I am, however, certainly not proud to view the vicious attacks made by some of my fellow stubborn Vermonters on other stubborn Vermonters who have a differing opinion of what is “right.”  I am not proud of comments made about those who care enough to attempt to protect their land and interests or the denigrating comments about the protesters who stood for their own beliefs.…

My neighbors, friends, and I lament the loss of this Green Mountain Vermont resource, but what really defined Vermont was not only its physical makeup but rather it was its people.  The strong families, communities, and sense of shared purpose that took this land from extreme wilderness to a modern, proactive, self-sufficient state through the 1800s and a major influence far beyond its size for the rest of our country from revolution through today.  And that is precisely what we Vermonters are at stake of losing through this turmoil.  The relationships, the synergistic power of community, and the intense drive of public service; for the good of the community not for the good of myself!

In my lifetime the turbines will be there, in the next lifetime they will, if deemed worth it, remain, but in a few human lifetimes will there be visible sign?  Probably not in any way that really matters.  However the human relationships lost or cultivated will affect the “Vermonters” a lot longer and more severely than the physical ones.

Let’s go against the national trend of polarization in all endeavors and allow our neighbors to disagree with us without rancor.  We cannot mandate such action through any legislative means, order our neighbors to be tolerant, or to otherwise control others.  We CAN however change ourselves instantly.  Refuse to denigrate your friend, political foe, or competitor.  Tolerate differences and understand we go into it together and will come out of it together and if we withhold judgment and let some time pass we may well learn that we can go on together as well.

Let us search for our Vermont Arcadia, in both aesthetics and in philosophically.

Sincerely,

Dick Spaulding

Albany

(Until 1815, the town of Lutterloh)

 

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Lowell Six wind turbine protesters convicted of trespassing

Eric Gillard, the brother of one of the Lowell Six, holds a sign in front of the courthouse. Photo by Paul Lefebvre

by Paul Lefebvre

copyright the Chronicle 8-22-2012

NEWPORT — It took a jury of nine women and three men four hours to find wind opponents known as the Lowell Six guilty of unlawful trespass, following a one-day trial here in Superior Court.

The verdict appeared to reflect a trial in which a straight law and order issue trumped a disputed property boundary.

Conflicting testimony over the dispute may have confused the jurors as about an hour or so into their deliberation, they sent a note to the judge.

They wanted to know if there could be a legal owner when a property is in dispute.  And if the dispute was still current.

Trial Judge Martin Maley complimented the quality of the questions, but ruled each irrelevant.

“Do the best you can based on the evidence you heard,” he instructed them.

Disputed property boundaries were the key to the defense case:  If the state could not prove that the protesters were standing on property that was in the lawful possession of Green Mountain Power (GMP), then the defendants could not be convicted of unlawful trespass.

The prosecution argued that GMP was in lawful possession of the property, and that the protesters had broken the law when they refused to leave the land that had been posted by the company.

The trial was the first to be held involving protesters against the Lowell wind project that is being constructed by GMP.

Each of the six were arrested on December 5, 2011, when they refused police orders to leave posted property on Lowell Mountain while blocking the path of heavy construction vehicles.

Although the six presented their case as a group, the jury found each guilty as individuals.

Six more protesters are scheduled to be arraigned next month for a similar confrontation on the same mountain earlier this month.

Held Wednesday of last week, August 15, the trial was surprisingly silent on the underlying and highly charged issue that caused the defendants to break the law.  Before the jury entered the courtroom, Judge Maley warned he would only allow limited testimony on why the defendants were on the land.  And nothing, per se, on wind itself.

The jury, he said, knew what the case was about.  “It’s not a secret to them.”

So wind remained the elephant in the room:  the one everyone knew was there and agreed not to see.

Surprisingly, the only one to raise it as an issue was prosecutor Sarah Baker, when she sought to challenge the intent of the defense’s star witness, surveyor Paul Hannan of Calais, formerly of Holland and at one time a Kingdom legislator who served in the House.

Placed on the stand as an expert witness by defense attorney Kristina Michelsen, Mr. Hannan was prepared to provide the rock-bottom kind of testimony the defense needed to support its case.

Mr. Hannan testified that he had 31 years of experience as a surveyor and the credentials to qualify as an expert.  The rules of evidence, however, say that either side can challenge an expert’s witness.  And when her turn came, Ms. Baker proceeded vigorously.

First she asked Mr. Hannan about his association with Sterling College, and learned that during the years 1990 and 1991, he was one of the faculty members who accompanied students on three-to-four-day expeditions on Lowell Mountain.

The prosecutor pressed on.  Did he have any prior knowledge of Don Nelson — who allowed the students to use his property and who also is in a property dispute with GMP concerning the boundary line between his land on the mountain and the adjourning site where the utility is constructing its wind project.

No, said Mr. Hannan.

Ms. Baker may have thought she had found a chink in the defense’s armor when she abruptly asked the witness if he had any association with any anti-wind group.

Instead, the question brought a prompt objection from attorney Michelsen, along with a few hisses and murmurs from the 35 or so spectators in the gallery, a largely anti-wind crowd.

Judge Maley sustained the objection and Ms. Baker sat down, taking with her any references that the industrial wind project on Lowell Mountain had anything to do with the case.

There was a stirring in the closing moments of the trial when one of the defendants, Dr. Ronald Holland, took the stand.  The doctor’s name had surfaced earlier in the trial when Deputy Sheriff Phil Brooks testified for the state.

Of the ten protesters on the mountain that day, the deputy said he only knew Dr. Holland from previous personal and professional encounters.  He went on to testify that about two weeks prior to the December 5 confrontation, he received a call at home from Dr. Holland.  The doctor, according to the testimony, told the deputy he was going to the mountain that day to protest and wanted the deputy to arrest him.

“I informed him I was off duty and it wasn’t going to be me,” Deputy Brooks testified, adding that he passed what he characterized an “odd request” on to the State Police, who didn’t do anything either.

That testimony was before the jury when Dr. Holland took the stand late in the day.  The 67-year-old resident of Irasburg told jurors that days prior to the confrontation with police, he had gone onto the site and measured with twine the distance where he believed Mr. Nelson’s property ended.

And on the day of the confrontation, he testified he went to the limit of that measured distance.

But in a question that had nearly everyone in the courtroom leaning forward on the edge of their seats, Ms. Michelsen asked the emergency room doctor why he had climbed to the top of Lowell Mountain on December 5, 2011.

He paused and bowed his head a moment before answering that he had gone there to “protest the taking of Don Nelson’s property.”

Defendant David Rodgers, 69, of Craftsbury followed Dr. Holland to the stand and testified that he too believed he was on the Nelson property when police moved in to arrest him.

He testified that Dr. Holland had tied a block of wood to the end of a string as a means of measuring the property’s boundary.  And that he was “very careful not to” trespass on the land GMP is leasing to erect its 21-turbine wind plant.

The procession to the stand might have continued had not the prosecution agreed to stipulate that the remaining four defendants had followed the doctor’s lead.

But if the defense thought a protest over property rights could overturn the confrontation that followed, the jury saw it differently.  Nor did any witness refute or challenge the deputy’s testimony over what happened that day.

Deputy Brooks testified he received a call around nine that morning from GMP, informing him that protesters were on the mountain blocking heavy equipment from working on the wind project.  Police arrived roughly two hours later, and observed that the group was blocking cranes and big trucks.

“They were stopped on either side of where the defendants were,” he testified.

Deputy Brooks testified that prior to December 5, GMP had shown him a map of the project and its property boundaries.  And when confronting the protesters, he said he gave everyone the opportunity to step back behind the property line between GMP and the Nelson farm.

Of the ten protesters, three complied with a police order to step aside.  Six refused and were placed under what sounded like a gentleman’s arrest.  The deputy said he chatted cordially with the defendants and discussed everything but the project going on around them.

“I limited myself to that,” said Deputy Brooks.

The biggest problem police encountered that day, the deputy added, was finding a way to transport their prisoners off the mountain.

Police also arrested a seventh individual, Chronicle publisher Chris Braithwaite, who is challenging his arrest on grounds he was there doing his job as a reporter.

GMP’s intent to keep people off the site and the property it has under lease was deliberate and thorough, according to its project manager Charles Pughe, who also oversaw the posting.

“We cleaned out several stores,” he said, speaking of the no trespassing signs the company purchased.  “We had to have so many of them.”

Mr. Pughe testified that the land was initially posted for safety and to keep hikers out of harm’s way.  But he also noted that problems with people at the site began appearing sometime in October, as campers began to gather on the neighboring Nelson land.

Terms of the lease gave GMP authority to exclude or allow access to anyone the company chose, he said.

Mr. Pughe was off site the day the protesters were arrested.  But under cross-examination by Ms. Michelsen, he said, he could tell from photographic evidence — including photographs taken by the arrested journalist — that the protesters were on GMP’s leased property at the time of their arrest.

He estimated the face of the turbine would be about 200 feet away from the Nelson boundary line.

From the moment he took the stand it was evident that Don Nelson was not going to be a friendly witness.

He gave mostly monosyllabic responses to the prosecutor’s questions, and when asked to read a document, he shrugged and said he didn’t have his glasses.  That brought a query from the bench

“Need your glasses, Mr. Nelson?” asked Judge Maley.

“Don’t have them with me,” replied Mr. Nelson.

The prosecutor decided to try a different tack by asking the witness if he had given Dr. Holland permission to go on his property.

“My land is open.  People come and go,” he replied.  “I don’t invite or not invite.  We don’t post it.”

When Ms. Michelsen’s turn came to ask the questions, Mr. Nelson said that Dr. Holland had come to see him about the boundary dispute, and that he had provided him with the coordinates that were in disagreement.  According to his testimony, the dispute began years ago with the landowner who leased the land to GMP.  At the time, the witness testified, there was a difference of roughly 420 feet.

For its final witness, the state put on the surveyor who recently bought out a surveying business in Derby Line that surveyed the Nelson property several years ago in hopes of resolving the boundary dispute.

Andrew Nadeau testified that the previous owner had surveyed the property in dispute in 2007, and that he had spent in excess of two weeks surveying it as well.  But the surveyor who spent the longest time on the stand turned out to be the expert for the defense, Mr. Hannan.

Throughout his testimony, Mr. Hannan repeatedly testified there were fundamental mistakes in the 2007 survey — that affected the boundaries of lots leased by GMP.

He told jurors that in surveying the same ground, he found that markers had been inappropriately defined.  He said there must be corroborating evidence to define a marker or monument that had been used in the past when the land was first surveyed.  And such markers, he added, could be used to determine boundaries.

“When is a stone pile a stone pile or a monument?” he asked at one point.

Jurors already had heard from Mr. Nelson that surveying is not an exact science, and depends in part on the quality of surveys done in the past.  Mr. Nelson noted that he and his neighbor had tried to settle survey discrepancies on their abutting lands through an agreement.  Their boundary dispute was rekindled, however, when the agreement came unraveled.

Mr. Hannan testified that in surveying the land for the Nelsons, he found almost no markers on the ground that were left when the land was first surveyed in 1790.  And he told the jurors that the monuments defined by the 2007 survey were inaccurate.

Closing arguments were short, lasting about five minutes apiece.  Each attorney offered similar arguments to those they had made in their opening statements.

The verdict clearly took the defense and its supporters by surprise.  After asking the judge to poll each juror for a verdict, Ms. Michelsen said she would be filing post trial motions.  The court gave her ten days to submit them.

Prosecutor Baker said she would be requesting a restitution hearing, which means the state will try to convince the court to order the defendants to pay compensation to GMP.

The late hour verdict led the defendants to call off a press conference they had planned to hold at the conclusion of the trial.

In a press release Monday, Dr. Holland was quoted as saying:

“We are obviously disappointed with the verdict but respect the jury’s efforts. This is, and will continue to be, a complex case that rejects the simple and disingenuous offerings of Green Mountain Power.  We will continue to educate Vermonters on the science and math of ridgeline wind-generated electricity.”

As Mr. Pughe was walking away from the courthouse, he said he hoped the verdict would make his job easier.

The remaining four defendants of the Lowell Six are:  Ryan Gillard, 23, of Plainfield; Suzanna Jones, 50, of East Hardwick; Ann Morse, 48, of Craftsbury; and Eric Wallace-Senft, 46, of West Woodbury.

contact Paul Lefebvre at paul@bartonchronicle.com

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Tractor-trailer with turbine tips over

A state trooper measures the length of the path the upended trailer’s wheels made in the roadside grass. Photos by Chris Braithwaite

copyright the Chronicle July 25, 2012

by Chris Braithwaite

The bottom section of a massive wind turbine bound for Green Mountain Power’s Lowell Mountain project tipped over Thursday, July 19, when it encountered a paving crew on Interstate 91.

The interstate was closed to southbound traffic for about three hours Friday morning while a crane retrieved the long white tube from the ditch and put it on a truck.  The load made it to the job site on Route 100 south of Lowell Village just before noon on Friday, according to Phil Brooks, chief deputy of the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department.

The highly specialized tractor-trailer, owned by Lone Star Transportation, was in the passing lane, just north of the Orleans exit, when a left rear tire left the pavement and hit soft ground.  Tire marks in the roadside grass indicate that what followed must have been an agonizingly slow catastrophe.  The marks moved ever further from the pavement, ever lower down a gentle slope for 500 feet until they came to the trailer, its rear wheels overturned in the ditch.  The tractor remained upright.

Speed was not a factor, State Trooper Rajesh Hailey said in his press release, and the driver, Jimmy Maddox of Gainesville, Texas, was not hurt.

Deputy Brooks said a crane was immediately dispatched from Desrochers Crane Service in Derby.  It was unable to lift the tower section, but did assist a larger crane that arrived early Friday from Massachusetts, Mr. Brooks said.  The interstate was closed at about 8 a.m. to allow space for the big crane to set up.  Once that was done, Mr. Brooks said, it took only half an hour to recover the tower section.  The highway was reopened at about 11 a.m.

A section of a wind turbine destined for Lowell Mountain rests in the ditch beside Interstate 91, just north of the Orleans exit.

Under the terms of its permit and state law governing overweight loads, Mr. Brooks said, Green Mountain Power’s contractor can use the highways from half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset.  However, loads must lay over in a “safe haven” between 7 and 8 a.m., noon and 1 p.m., and 4 to 5 p.m., Mr. Brooks said.  Thursday’s load had just pulled out of the Coventry rest area when the accident occurred a few miles south, at 5:16 p.m.

Opponents of Green Mountain Power’s project, who held up a truck for about two hours on July 16, may continue to try and block the loads.  The Mountain Occupiers, a group that has spearheaded several acts of civil disobedience in opposition to the project, scheduled a “civil disobedience training” in Craftsbury on Tuesday evening, July 24.

In an e-mail announcing the training, the group said:  “As our powerful actions blocking the turbine trucks in Lowell showed, our cause can draw crowds, media, support, and even negotiate with the law.  We don’t have to be bystanders to the destruction of our state.  The time for action is now!”

Two protesters were arrested on July 24 after they stepped in front of a truck just before it turned into the Lowell site.  They were cited for disorderly conduct, but released from custody after negotiations with police in which protesters agreed to clear the highway.

contact Chris Braithwaite at chris@bartonchronicle.com

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Protesters stop Lowell turbine truck

A Lowell wind project protester confronts State Police Corporal Dan Kerin as he tries to clear people off Route 100 Monday. Opponents of the Green Mountain Power project stopped a truck hauling a section of a turbine tower for about two hours before a compromise was negotiated with police. Our story starts on page nineteen. Photos by Chris Braithwaite

copyright the Chronicle July 18, 2012

by Chris Braithwaite

LOWELL — Though it was billed as just a “rally” and an opportunity for opponents of the Lowell Mountain wind project to “greet the turbines” as they arrived, Monday’s confrontation here turned into a brief but intense exercise in civil disobedience.

Gathering across Route 100 from the gate to the 21-turbine wind project at 9 a.m., protesters seemed content to wave signs and sing songs that condemned the project.

But when a truck hauling a long section of turbine tower finally appeared, a handful of protesters rushed into the road and stopped it.  The quick arrest of two of them seemed only to draw others onto the highway in front of the idling truck.

Two Lamoille County deputies who had been hired by the project’s owner, Green Mountain Power, tried to “walk” the truck through the protesters, pushing them aside as they encountered them.  But that proved to be a futile exercise that one demonstrator described later as “herding an amoeba.”  Demonstrators flowed around the deputies to post themselves in front of the truck and bring it, once again, to a halt.

A group of Bread and Puppet performers had come to the scene in the Glover theater company’s distinctly painted bus, and their banners and fiercely beating drums brought fresh resolve to the protesters.  As the two deputies and uniformed security guards at the site stood by in frustration, the crowd chanted “Shame on you!” and “Turn it back!” at the bright red truck and its hapless driver.

As protesters line Route 100, watched closely by police officers, the turbine section finally pulls onto Green Mountain Power’s construction site.

It took some time for the first State Police officer to arrive.  And when Corporal Dan Kerin stepped out of his cruiser he encountered the same tactic that had confounded the deputies.  Each protester in turn yielded to the corporal’s direct order to clear the road, then stepped back onto the pavement when he moved on to the next protester.

But State Police officers started to arrive in force, backed up by Orleans County deputies and officers with the U.S. Border Patrol, Fish and Wildlife and VTrans.  Sets of hand restraints were brandished, and police dogs were sighted.  An onlooker who scouted the area on his bicycle reported counting 22 law enforcement vehicles at the scene.

Lieutenant Kirk Cooper, commander of the State Police Derby barracks, stepped into the middle of the crowd of demonstrators and appealed for a peaceful conclusion.

“You’re perfectly entitled to voice your non-support,” he told the demonstrators.  “But other people have to use this road.  That’s where we get in the middle.

“I’m not gong to give you a lot a crap,” the lieutenant continued.  If they didn’t move, he told the demonstrators, “we’re going to be forced to move you.  I honestly don’t want to do that.”

The officer’s plea was seconded by one of the Lowell project’s most determined opponents, Don Nelson.

“We’ve made our point, boys,” Mr. Nelson said.  “It’s time to back off.”

Some protesters heeded that advice, but some did not.  Police, gathered in a clump just beside the idling truck, seemed ready to move.  But leaders of the group were clearly anxious to avoid the confrontation that seemed moments away.

Pat Sagui, Steve Wright and Stephanie Kaplan, a lawyer who worked with opponents of the Sheffield wind project, talked to Lieutenant Cooper and Lamoille County Sheriff Roger Marcoux.

The deal they struck was that protesters would clear the highway if the sheriff released his two captives.  They were a key leader of the opposition, Ira Powsner, and his younger brother, Jacob.

Ira Powsner of Ira is placed under arrest moments after stepping out onto Route 100 to stop a truck carrying part of a wind turbine.

After they were issued citations to appear in court on September 11 to answer charges of disorderly conduct, the brothers stepped out of the sheriff’s vehicle to the cheers of protesters.  They sang “Happy Birthday” to Ira Powsner on the occasion of his twenty-sixth birthday.

The protesters returned to the side of the highway, the officers lined up to keep them there, and the truck finally hauled its long, white load through the gates and onto the construction site.

Watching from just inside that site, Lowell Selectman Richard Pion was less than pleased by the compromise.

“They ought to take half those people to jail,” he said.  If police lacked the vehicles to get them there, he added, “they should go get a school bus.”

“They can demonstrate, but there’s no need of blocking traffic,” Mr. Pion said.  “I thought this was the land of democracy,” he added, noting that a solid majority of Lowell citizens voted for the wind project.

Like most who tried to count the protesters, Mr. Pion estimated that there were about 100 of them.  “That shows there’s only a handful that’s opposed to this,” he said.

When traffic finally started to move past the Green Mountain Power gate, it consisted only of a handful of heavy trucks that had been held up in both directions, and one Army truck driven by what appeared to be a National Guardsman.  Most traffic was apparently able to drive around the obstruction on Mink Farm Road, which loops to the west of Route 100.

While Green Mountain Power’s chief executive, Mary Powell, was not visible at the scene, Vermont Electric Cooperative’s CEO, David Hallquist, was on hand.  His utility has agreed to buy a small share of the project’s power, at cost.

Asked by a reporter if he was upset by the demonstration, Mr. Hallquist replied that he would have been disappointed if no one had shown up.  Some of Mr. Hallquist’s remarks were recorded on film by his son, Derek Hallquist.  The younger Hallquist is working with the documentary filmmaker Aaron Woolf of New York State, whose best-known work is King Corn.

In the hard hat and safety vest provided by Green Mountain Power, Mr. Woolf and his crew were easy to mistake for employees of the utility.

Standing just inside the work site, facing the demonstrators across the road, Mr. Woolf noted that if people stood on his side of the road, they were pro-wind.  People on the other side of the road were anti-wind, he continued.

“And if you stand in the middle of the road, you get run over.”

The section of turbine tower had been held up on the highway for about two hours.  And as demonstrators headed north on Route 100 after the rally, they quickly encountered a second section of tower on its way to the site, closely followed by a long, slender turbine blade.

contact Chris Braithwaite at chris@bartonchronicle.com

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East Haven wind farm slips on Champion’s slippery slopes

by Paul Lefebvre

copyright the Chronicle March 15, 2006

MONTPELIER — The long shadow of the former Champion lands appears to have sealed the fate of a proposed wind farm on East Mountain in East Haven.

Encumbered by conservation and public access easements, those lands turned out to be the recurring reason behind a recommendation released Friday to deny a certificate of public good to East Haven Windfarm, the Montpelier-based company that seeks to erect four 329-foot turbines on the mountain’s summit.
“In short, I conclude that while this may be the right project, it is in the wrong place,” wrote Kurt Janson, the hearing officer with the Public Service Board (PSB) who presided over the case.
The recommendation now moves on to the three-member board that will issue the final order. Actually only two members will act on the recommendation as PSB chairman James Volz has recused himself from the case.
The recommendation, which would scuttle the project, came after a lengthy process that involved rounds of public and technical hearings in an atmosphere that became highly charged between supporters and opponents.
In a written decision that came to nearly 90 pages, Mr. Janson acknowledged the almost irreconcible differences that arose in the case when he spoke of trying to strike a balance between “two fundamental state policies: promoting in-state renewable resources and protecting Vermont’s ridgelines.”
Charges that he failed to find a balance were part of the reaction to the recommendation offered by the project’s developers.
“We think the hearing officer was in error, and hope to convince the Public Service Board not to follow his recommendation in its final order,” said Dave Rapaport, the company’s vice-president, in a phone interview Tuesday.
For the fledgling industry, the recommendation appears to have caught developers off guard.
“Everyone is in disbelief over it,” said Mr. Rapaport, who implied that investors may be having second thoughts about putting their money into wind. “It does elevate the risk.”
Parties have two weeks, or until March 27, to reply to the hearing officer’s recommendation in writing. And any of the parties — there are 11 in all including individuals, state agencies, utilities and nonprofits — may request oral arguments before the board.
For those who opposed the project, the recommendation had the satisfaction of a hard-earned vindication.
“Large scale wind is totally out of character with the state of Vermont,” said Don Nelson of Albany, a member of the Kingdom Commons Group (KCG), which is opposed to building wind farms on ridge lines.
KCG reputedly spent more than $200,000 fighting the project, which was filed with the board in November 2003.
Katie Anderson, a KCG activist who came to the state after the Champion deal was concluded, drank champagne Friday night after the recommendation was released.
“It was great to learn that after all this time,” she said in a Tuesday phone call. “It was heartening to hear him value Champion. It’s a treasure we have to protect.”
Essentially, the case presented by Mr. Janson was site specific. It was tightly wrapped around a special piece of land that has been conserved and protected for both its ecological and social values. And in reaching his conclusions, the officer may have been serving notice that environmental and conservation standards will not be lowered for an industry that is at the center of the state’s push to harness and produce renewable energy.
“He evaluated this case on existing law,” said Warren Coleman, head counsel for the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR).
Indeed, nothing in the recommendation discredits the viability of wind power. Arguments that suggested wind is economically unsound, lacks reliability, and poses safety and noise issues were dismissed by the officer, often on grounds that their conclusions could not be supported by the facts.
For example KCG argued that the turbines would not go as far as promised in cutting emissions. Mr. Janson refused to accept their premise:
“The issue is not a comparison of new wind generation to new demand-side resources, but rather a comparison of new wind generation to no new resources of any kind,” he wrote. “Under that appropriate comparison, the proposed wind turbines will result in avoided air emissions.”
But in analyzing whether the project’s costs outweighed its benefits, the hearing officer focused on the region itself, its character, or what he called its “intactness,” which he said has been “enhanced by the remoteness of the landscape.”
At 3,429 feet, East Mountain is the second highest mountain in the Northeast Kingdom, a region that comprises 2,207 square miles or 21 percent of the state’s land mass. The towers would go up on 17 acres that in the 1950s during the Cold War were part of a U.S. Air Force radar base. And East Mountain and the project, noted Mr. Janson, would be surrounded by 132,800 acres of timberland that formed the Champion land before it was bought and broken up with parcels going to the state, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Essex Timber Company.
Overall, according to testimony from the hearings, $40-million in public funds has been invested in the land to insure public access and to conserve its wild and rugged character. For Mr. Janson, it represented an investment that needs to be protected.
“The proposed Project would be incompatible with the remote, undeveloped nature of the surrounding conserved Champion Lands,” he wrote.
Mr. Rapaport said Tuesday he was surprised by the emphasis the recommendation placed on the Champion lands. Developers had argued the lands comprised a working forest rather than a wilderness; a context, they said, that would be compatible with four 1.5-megawatt turbines, capable of supplying power to roughly 3,000 homes.
Besides, he added, the public investment went into land as far north as the Canadian border, and only $4.5-million went into the Champion lands.
“So what public investment went into buying public access into 20,000 acres?” he asked, speaking of the portion of conserved land that would have been in the viewshed of the turbine.
Along with the public investment, the hearing officer also gave lengthy consideration to the aesthetic argument, which reduced to its finest point, asked the following question: “Does the project offend the sensibilities of the average person?”
At several miles distant, Mr. Janson found “that the proposed windfarm would not be so out of character with its surroundings, or significantly diminish the scenic qualities of the area, as to be offensive or shocking to the average person.”
But the effect on the average person seeking to recreate on Champion lands would be just the reverse. In reaching his conclusion, the hearing officer broke ranks with the Department of Public Service — the public’s advocate — whose expert argued that average people were unlikely to go to such a remote area to recreate.
“This argument fails to recognize the very values that the public investment in the Champions Lands is designed to protect: the remote, rugged, undeveloped nature of the lands,” he wrote.
“The users of the lands are seeking the remote, wilderness experience that is the cornerstone of the substantial public investment in the former Champion Lands. Indeed, the concerted effort that users must make to reach these remote, undeveloped lands make the intrusion of commercial-scale wind turbines that much more out of context and, consequently, even more shocking and offensive.”
Among those who participated in the PSB hearings that went on for nearly two weeks during March and April 2005, the recommendation came as something of a surprise.
Mr. Coleman, an attorney with the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) who argued against the project on grounds more wildlife studies were needed, said the recommendation clearly supported the belief that the public’s enjoyment of the Champion lands would be adversely affected if the project were allowed to go forward.
“It may be more difficult to raise similar findings elsewhere,” he said speaking in a phone interview Tuesday.
ANR had argued last year before the hearing officer that the project should be delayed until more studies on migratory birds and bats could be conducted. But Mr. Coleman noted Tuesday that while these studies could have been carried out by the developer, there is little that could be done to mitigate the project’s effect on those who go onto the Champion lands to enjoy its remote and rugged setting.
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Sheffield Selectmen enter contract with wind company

by Joseph Gresser

copyright June 14, 2006

SHEFFIELD — Sheffield Selectmen and UPC Vermont Wind have come to an agreement.   If the 20 wind generators proposed for Sheffield are built UPC will make an annual payment to the town of between  $400,000 and $550,000.

In return Sheffield promises to support UPC’s application before the state Public Service Board (PSB) and cooperate with the company in its dealings with other state agencies.
Max Aldrich, chairman of the Sheffield Selectmen, said Tuesday that selectmen felt they were carrying out the desires of most  Sheffield voters by signing the agreement.
“To this point the majority has supported the project,” he said, “and we, as a board, have supported the majority.”
Mr. Aldrich said the selectmen wanted “to negotiate a contract while we have leverage.”  The town, he said, would not be able to get as good a deal if it waited until the PSB approves the project.
The agreement, Mr. Aldrich said, was largely worked out in private sessions.  Mr. Aldrich said that he was given authority to act as negotiator for the town.  Because he was the sole selectman present at many of the bargaining sessions the discussions were not selectmen’s meetings and, thus, were not required to be warned or opened to the public.
The Ridge Protectors, an organization that opposes the Sheffield project, issued a press release Tuesday objecting to the selectmen’s action.  The selectmen, they say, should have put the contract to a public vote before signing it.
The group’s statement claims that  the agreement is, in fact, a tax stabilization plan and, as such, must, by law, be approved by Town Meeting.
In their press release, Ridge Protectors says its members plan to write to Secretary of State Deb Markowitz asking her to insist on such a Town Meeting.  The organization also plans to mount an “aggressive campaign” to request selectmen to resign and hold a special Town Meeting to elect replacements.
Greg Bryant, a spokesman for the group, said Tuesday there has been a “huge breach of trust between the voters and the select board.”
The agreement, Mr. Bryant said, puts in place a “gag order” for the town of Sheffield.  “It basically turns this town into UPC.” he said, “We have no say.”
Mr. Aldrich said the selectmen decided not to call for a Town Meeting to approve the contract after receiving letters from the Ridge Protectors that said a second vote would not be the solution.
On December 1, 2005, Sheffield supported the wind turbines, 120 to 93, in a nonbinding straw vote.
Selectmen, Mr. Aldrich said, took the advice of members of the Ridge Protectors in choosing the lawyer who guided them through the negotiations.  The board, Mr. Aldrich said, heard from Ridge Protector Rob Brown, that Richard Saudek came highly recommended.  The board had been very satisfied with Mr. Saudek’s performance he said.
The contract calls for annual payments to the town based on the assessed value of the wind towers.  If the towers are valued at $1-million per megawatt of capacity, and the generators are rated at 40 megawatts the town will receive $550,000 per year minus the municipal portion of property taxes.
At $2-million per megawatt the town will receive $400,000 per year minus the municipal portion of property taxes.  In either event municipal property taxes would be paid to the town to make up the full negotiated payment.
UPC also agrees, in principal, to the creation of a decommissioning fund to pay for the removing turbines, transformers, and overhead power collection lines when the project is no longer in use.  “Underground infrastructure” will be removed to a depth of two feet below grade and the area “will be grade to match adjacent contours, and allowed to revegetate naturally.”  Roads built to serve the project will remain in place.
Other provisions of the contract call for baseline measurements to be made of noise levels once the wind turbines are in operation.  This, the contract says, is to protect the company and the town from “future controversy over the noise levels from the wind farm.”
UPC agrees to submit plans to Sheffield officials for prior approval if they affect town roads or drainage near town highways.  The company also agrees to repair damage to town roads, culverts or bridges caused by construction of the wind facility.
In return Sheffield is bound “to cooperate with UPC before the Public Service Board and other regulatory agencies.”  Should UPC make changes to the project that are acceptable to the town, Sheffield is obligated to cooperate with UPC “in dealing with the State of Vermont taxing authorities and the Vermont legislature.”
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Lowell wind protesters arrested

by Chris Braithwaite
copyright the Chronicle December 7, 2011
LOWELL — For an hour or two on Monday morning, a small group of determined protesters brought some very large construction equipment on Lowell Mountain to a halt.
The protesters stepped out onto a path being constructed for a crane that will eventually erect 21 460-foot wind turbines along the mountain’s ridgeline. They stretched a long banner that read “United we stand” across the road and stopped a big dump truck with an oversized red sign that said “Stop Destroying Vermont.”
While the men who are building Green Mountain Power’s wind project stood around in a mixture of bemusement and impatience, the protesters waited for police to come and arrest them for trespass.
Police were a long time coming, however, and pickups, trucks and one tractor trailer loaded with bags of cement formed a substantial line on the crane path, waiting to get back to business.
Finally a bulldozer was called in to scrape blast debris away and widen the road enough to let traffic move past the demonstrators.
They waited perhaps another hour for two Orleans County deputy sheriffs to arrive in a pickup driven by State Police Detective Sergeant Darren Annis.
Chief Deputy Phil Brooks ordered the demonstrators to leave the property or face arrest.
Three of the nine demonstrators withdrew to the Nelsons’ property. The remaining six stood their ground.
(This reporter also refused to leave the property. An account of his arrest is published on page 23 of this week’s issue.)
The demonstrators were carried down the mountain in the pickup in three shifts, transferred to sheriff’s department cruisers, and taken to the State Police barracks in Derby. There they were confined briefly in a holding cell until, one at a time, they could be fingerprinted, photographed, and issued citations to appear in Orleans Superior Court on December 20.
The demonstrators were not put in handcuffs, and reported cordial conversations with the deputies who drove them to Derby.
The protesters who were arrested were Dr. Ron Holland of Irasburg, David Rodgers of East Craftsbury, Ryan Gillard of Plainfield, Suzanna Jones of Walden, Eric Wallace-Senft of West Woodbury, and Anne Morse of Craftsbury Common.
For the demonstrators, Monday was the culmination of a long, carefully planned series of acts of civil disobedience aimed at slowing the wind project’s construction, and drawing public attention to what they believe are its environmental and economic shortcomings.
As the sun rose Monday morning, they gathered at the bottom of the trail up the mountain to introduce themselves and share their hopes and fears for the day ahead.
“I don’t really have any fears, except that they don’t arrest us,” said Mr. Wallace-Senft.
A varying collection of protesters had been challenging the project on the mountain for weeks, without getting arrested.
First they violated a judge’s order that they stay away from a portion of Don and Shirley Nelson’s farm while GMP’s contractors were blasting nearby. But when police arrived to enforce that order, the protesters withdrew.
Two young protesters who arrived at the top shortly after an explosion was set off were arrested on November 16. They have told their supporters that they had no intention of getting arrested. Both pled innocent to criminal contempt of court and are awaiting trial.
In an attempt to get arrested for trespass, rather than contempt, other protesters crossed the property line and set up a temporary campsite on the edge of the construction site.
They were left pretty much on their own on a Saturday. But when they returned on Monday, November 21, police were on hand to read them the judge’s order. Facing contempt charges, the protesters retreated once again.
But the order, a preliminary injunction issued by Superior Court Judge Martin Maley, expired on Friday, December 2.
And finally, this Monday the protesters climbed the mountain and stepped briskly out onto the construction site.
Although they were anticipating arrest, the group unwound a long ball of twine across the crane path to establish their claim that they weren’t trespassing on land leased for the project by GMP.
The Nelsons have argued in court that the property line that runs through the nearby woods is incorrect. Their property, they claim, extends between 150 and 190 feet to the west, onto the project site.
If the Nelsons are right, the trespasser would be GMP, whose contractors have cut trees and blasted away rock to make permanent changes to the disputed terrain.
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Rally unites opposition to wind turbines on both sides of border

by Richard Creaser
copyright the Chronicle May 9, 2012
DERBY LINE — About 70 people gathered outside the historic Haskell Free Library and Opera House on Sunday to voice their opposition to a proposal to erect two wind turbines on farms in Derby. At the core of the dissent was the failure to notify abutting landowners in Stanstead, Quebec.
“We are opposed to the Encore Redevelopment project,” Stanstead Mayor Philippe Dutil said in his opening address. “We also want to make clear that this will have an effect on our community.”
Many homes in Stanstead would be closer to the wind turbines than homes on the American side would be. In some cases, houses would be as close as 500 feet to the turbines, Mark Duchamp said. Mr. Duchamp, who is from Spain and is co-founder of European Platform Against Windfarms (EPAW), was invited to speak at the rally. He was vacationing in Quebec and accepted the invitation to address the assembly.
“Nowhere else in the world do wind towers exist so close to homes,” he said.
In Denmark, the minimum distance allowed for erecting wind turbines is a distance equal to four times the height of the structures, Mr. Duchamp said. Allowing the turbines to be built so close to homes is a clear failure of governments to protect the health and well-being of its citizens, he said.
Dr. Robert McMurtry addressed the group via Skype. Mr. McMurtry, of Ontario, was critical of government supported studies that denounce the existence of “wind turbine syndrome.” In particular he was critical of the 2010 report issued by the chief medical officer of health of Ontario.
“Annoyance was strongly correlated with individual perceptions of wind turbines,” the report said. “Negative attitudes, such as an aversion to the visual impacts of wind turbines on the landscape, were associated with increased annoyance, while positive attitudes, such as direct economic benefit from wind turbines, were associated with decreased annoyance.”
Such statements imply the complicity of governments in the promotion of wind turbine development in North America and elsewhere, Mr. McMurtry said. If they judged cigarettes by the same standard as wind turbines, they would tell us it is okay to smoke, he said.
“Adverse health effects do exist,” Mr. McMurtry said. “There are people being damaged. The issue has not been dealt with responsibly by governments.”
Jean Rousseau, the member of Parliament for Compton-Stanstead, pledged to raise the issue in Ottawa. The close proximity of Canadian homes to the proposed site exposes those citizens to potential harm, he said.
“We want to have a better planet but we can’t just do it anywhere,” Mr. Rousseau said.
“The community of Derby Line and Stanstead does not want this project,” said Pierre Reid, a member of the Quebec National Assembly. “I am inviting Mr. Farrell to take this project elsewhere.”
Chad Farrell is the principal behind Encore Redevelopment.
Of particular concern to Stanstead resident Jean Francois Nadeau is the danger posed by ice throw.
“I’m no expert in physics, but even I know that when a block of ice falls 150 meters it will hurt like hell,” Mr. Nadeau said.
Daria MonDesire, a Derby Line resident, said the wind industry is terrorizing local communities by subjecting them to wind turbines.
“There is nothing green about destroying the planet in order to save it,” Ms. MonDesire said.
Senator Joe Benning, who represents the Orange-Caledonia district, said Governor Peter Shumlin’s administration has targeted the Northeast Kingdom for an unwanted and unwelcome investment in wind energy.
“What it is, is a place under attack by people who seek to make a quick buck,” Senator Benning said. “We need to educate, not alienate, those who are in power. Eventually, they will understand that you do not rape a ridgeline to make power that is intermittent.”
Permitting the wind turbines to go up in Derby would only be the first step in an inevitable proliferation of towers, Mr. Duchamp said.
“It is very easy once there are three to have many more,” he said. “It starts with three and then there are 30, then there are 60. When the resistance of the people is broken they install more.”
The effects will only worsen as the number of towers grow, Mr. Duchamp said. Home values will decline until properties become un-sellable, and residents will be condemned to live beneath the towers, he said.
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