HUBBARDTON — A domino effect against the proposed Grandpa’s Knob wind project seems to gaining steam as the town of Hubbardton became the second town to officially take a stand against it Monday night.
Exactly one week after the Castleton Select Board voted to oppose the project, Hubbardton’s town officials unanimously approved a resolution against the wind project proposed by developer Reunion Power. The board said in the resolution that although they believe in the importance of renewable energy options, that belief does not “outweigh the natural, historic and economic importance this ridgeline represents to the town of Hubbardton.”
Select Board Chairman Mike Wetmore said the board had been doing research on the project, the process and even visiting the wind farm in Sheffield before coming to the conclusion that the project was just not good for the town. They had hoped to sign the resolution last week, but it had not been completed in time.
“This is a small town,” he said, “and I have spoken to hundreds of people and have not heard anyone in favor of this project. They are in favor of wind, but not this project. Not here.”
The Select Board further stated in the resolution that the construction of the towers, as well as the noise and distractions they create would permanently infringe the historic value of the Hubbardton State Historic Battlefield as the site of the only revolutionary battle fought in Vermont. They wrote that the input they received from town residents and local organizations also led to their decision.
“People here like to hunt, they like to be outdoors in the peace,” Wetmore said. “We can’t have things of that magnitude in our community.”
Reunion Power has proposed the construction and management of a 20-turbine wind farm on the Grandpa’s Knob ridgeline in the towns of West Rutland, Castleton, Pittsford and Hubbardton. The project is estimated to cost more than $100 million and could produce a maximum of 50 megawatts.
Reunion Power could not be reached for comment by press time Tuesday evening, but in a letter dated June 18 to the towns, they asked town officials to reserve any judgment while they complete all ongoing engineering and scientific work on the project. They request the opportunity to complete and then present the project for fair consideration, the letter said.
“Calls to pre-judge the project by activist members of the community, who present an agitated perspective, are not helpful nor are they fostering good public policy decisions,” they wrote.
The developer added: “We remain strong in our conviction that wind power is a necessary part of the Vermont energy resource mix. … We remain confident the Grandpa’s Knob wind project can be built and run without undue adverse impacts.”
The Castleton Select Board was the first to formally take a stand against the project when they voted on June 11 to oppose the development of wind towers on the ridgeline and to not enter into a host town agreement with Reunion Power. Town officials in Pittsford and West Rutland recently said the Select Board would probably make a determination on the project soon.