To the people of Lowell:
Attending all the informational meetings in Lowell concerning the current effort to erect 400 foot wind turbines, covering several miles of the Lowell Mountain ridge line, leaves me troubled by the questions that have not been answered – perhaps not even asked yet. When we meet as a community we should always look at that underlying question; How will we offer our children and grandchildren a life, here in our towns, with a decent standard of living? It is short sighted to sacrifice the natural beauty of our lands, and mountains, for a quick cash offer that destroys potential long range solutions that rest in the natural beauty of the area. Yes, you can eat the view if you develop it right.
Discussions with Lowell Selectmen convince me they are too eager to complete a deal with Green Mountain Power to sufficiently consider all the issues. They have only looked at an agreement for the potential payment to the town in lieu of taxes which the developer wants before going forward. The Selectboard has not disclosed the terms of the agreement to us, but with deliberation and bargaining, they could require consideration of all the issues that are of concern to the greater Lowell community as well as just Lowell voters.
Lowell voters are left with the responsibility in seeing around the dangled carrot of quick money in exchange for our mountain range. Developers do not go away when they are initially rejected. It happens all the time in the Act 250 process. They refine the proposal and return, having addressed the issues raised. With the wind tower concept some of the serious questions relate to the health and quality of life of people living near the site. How near? What is an acceptable plan? None is being considered.
The agreement between Mr. Wileman’s company and Green Mountain Power, is recorded in Lowell Land Records Book 55. With this agreement, in exchange for a large and continuing payment, Mr. Wileman has sold his rights as follows:
Grantor grants and conveys to Grantee a non-exclusive easement, right and entitlement on, over, across and under the Property to permit the Wind Farm or any component thereof to impact view or visual effects from the Property; to cause vibration; to cause electromagnetic and frequency interference; to cast shadows (including, without limitation, any from the turbines and moving blades) onto the Property, to interfere with television, radio or satellite reception, or to emit noise or sounds caused by the construction or operation of the Wind Farm.
This should cause Lowell voters and all folks in the surrounding affected areas to demand answers. What if our television, radio, or satellite reception is damaged? How about electromagnetic and frequency interference? Vibration? What if those of us who live along Route 100, or on Irish Hill, or over Albany way, or God knows where, experience these problems? Who do we turn to? Who protects us? Who pays for our solution?
“Shall the voters of the Town of Lowell approve the concept of a wind project in the town as proposed by Green Mountain Power Corporation and the Vermont Electric Cooperative provided that an agreement is reached between the Town and the developers that would bring a minimum of $400,000 per year to the Town of Lowell.”
In the Handbook for Vermont Selectboards, as prepared and distributed by the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, I find the following caution to Selectboards:
The board must be careful not to put language into an article that may be construed to sway the voter. For example, adding “If this article is approved it will mean an increase of three cents on the tax rate” or “This article is on as a special request of the recreation department” could reasonably be interpreted to influence a voter’s thought process and likelihood of voting in a certain way. Even a parenthetical “On the warning by petition” should not appear, as it may be interpreted to mean that the Selectboard really does not approve of it and is throwing a disclaimer of responsibility for it.
Does the warning article as presented to you by Australian ballot pass this test? What is your reaction to the inclusion of the words, “… that would bring a minimum of $400,000.00 per year to the Town of Lowell?”
A “No” vote will eliminate any question of a legal challenge costly to the Town of Lowell. A “No” vote will allow due deliberation of “the concept as proposed by Green Mountain Power and VT Electric Co-Op.”
Beaulieu Road, Lowell