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Sterling College letter to stop ridgeline wind development  

Author:  | Impacts, Vermont

We are a group of 29 faculty and staff (a clear majority) and 80 students (an overwhelming majority), of Sterling College and we are calling for a suspension of the process on the Kingdom Community Wind Project and a moratorium on other proposed ridgeline industrial wind projects in the state.

As a small environmental college in Vermont, we value the Lowell Mountain range as a wilderness classroom and we stand behind our mission of environmental stewardship. While we support renewable energy in the form of wind, we want the Vermont Public Service Board to reconsider the ridgeline site of this project for environmental, community, and energy related reasons.

Large-scale industrial wind development on Vermont ridgelines will create permanent changes to the topography of the mountains, further fragment wildlife habitat, and potentially cause erosion and runoff into local watersheds.

The development of wind turbines on ridgelines is in contradiction with the character of the state and the heralded environmental laws such as the Billboard Law and Act 250, which prohibits development at 2,500 feet elevation. (With elevations up to 2,625 feet, the placement of 400-plus foot turbines on the Lowell Mountains would in many sites exceed the 2,500 ft Act 250 criteria.)

There is division in the local communities about the project’s benefits and impacts. Local residents need to know more about these so-called “community” wind projects and they should have a say in the consideration of these projects. While there have been a limited number of informational sessions with representatives from Green Mountain Power Corporation, these meetings are not sufficient sources of objective information. Beyond attending a public hearing, public involvement in the Section 248 process is limited. Individuals and communities are at a disadvantage even if they attain party status, lacking the financial resources of major corporations.

We fully support renewable energy but frequently find the discussion about cutting greenhouse gas emissions turned into a pro-wind versus anti-wind debate. We believe that saving energy through conservation, supporting small scale solar and wind projects, and investing in clean-air transportation will help us best cut our carbon emissions in Vermont.

We, the 109 undersigned, urge the Public Service Board to look closely at the impacts of ridgeline development for industrial wind projects by starting with a halt to the Kingdom Community Wind Project in the Lowell Mountains.

Download original document: “Sterling College letter to stop ridgeline wind development

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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