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Noise a problem at Searsburg, Vt., facility  

Author:  | Noise, Vermont

August 8, 2005

Ms. Gina Owens
District Ranger
USDA Forest Service
2538 Depot Street
Manchester Center, VT 05255

Ms. Owens,

I am writing in regard to the electrical generating facility proposed for the Green Mountain National Forest in Searsburg and Readsboro, Vermont. I am an abutter (at 343 South Road, Route 8) to the Forest near where the generating facility is being proposed. My family owns the two closest houses to the existing generating station.

I am deeply concerned on the impact both on the wildlife, and on the general public’s (myself and my family included) ability to enjoy the uniquely beautiful area, that this industrial generating station will have.

My family has a history in Searsburg, dating to the early 19th century, when my great great grandfather moved to town. My parents first bought property in the early 1960’s. The attraction was obvious. It is a remote, still wild, location of a type that is rapidly disappearing. It is still the ‘old woods’.

A little less than ten years ago, a ‘small’ generating station of a ‘handful’ of windmills was proposed and rapidly sent through the approval process. This was to generate ‘clean’ energy that was reported to be no more intrusive than the sound of a ‘whisper’. I have endured the industrial droning for close to ten years, with the added arrhythmic clunk of the gears from the turning mechanisms. This is described as a ‘barely noticeable’ sound. I beg to differ. Due to this industrial noise pollution, I can no longer bring pets to the property, because the droning disorients them in the woods. The impact to the wildlife must be even more severe, despite the claims of the power company’s ‘consultants’. Regardless, my family’s enjoyment of the quiet of the woods is severely diminished.

Now there is proposed a bigger generating station, with larger windmills, complete with aircraft warning lights. I have yet to see a detail on exactly where these enormous structures are to be located. Where will they be in relation to my property? Will they overlook my house? Why hasn’t this been published? I suspect that is because they will be a huge eyesore. How can anyone expect a public response when these details have never been released? The propaganda pictures that the electric company published were taken five miles from the Searsburg town line. I do not consider this honest.

The ‘public’ comment phase of this project has been initiated without a clear plan as to what is being proposed. One can only assume that the power company considers residents of Searsburg, Readsboro, and all of Vermont to be simple ‘hicks’, who wouldn’t understand the ‘complicated’ details.

Will there be 400 foot tall electrical generators overlooking my house? Will the pristine landscape be turned into an industrial park? Will this wild expanse of nature resemble a metropolitan airport with its landing lights? I request that more details on this project to be made public before the public input period is completed.

When the existing windmills were proposed, there was supposedly no opposition to them. The power company published(!) pictures of the view from our property that were taken while they were trespassing. They said that they had heard no opposition to the proposal. It should not have been hard to find a family in a town of less than 100, who had been there since the early sixty’s. Yet the power company claimed that they had contacted all of the abutters. They had not contacted us, nor ANY of the other families that had their view of the mountains spoiled by these huge industrial machines. (They apparently only contacted tourists who never venture far from the road on the way to their ski vacations.) They subsequently published a glowing report that everyone they contacted liked the idea of the generators. This is a conclusion they decided on prior to contacting anyone. It is not intellectually valid.

Consider this letter documentation that I am opposed to any further industrialization of the forest.

I request that the proposed project be put on hold until ALL information regarding it is provided to the public, including exact locations of where each of these enormous electrical generators and high intensity strobe lights will be located.

Based on the last time this type of action happened, I cannot expect anything good to come of it. Hopefully the fact that it is on public land will have some bearing. I would like to think that I am one of the citizen landowners, and as such, would have some say as to whether this is a good idea. It is not, given the detail that has been provided.

Please contact me if more details on this project become available or if there is a further opportunity to comment.

Tom Shea

This article is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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