These mountains, the rare northern quiet and spectacular natural beauty that are so integral to Vermont need protection.
The village of Sheffield could have 24 very large, very intrusive
neighbors if a Massachusetts wind development company gets its way.
UPC Wind Management, LLC wants to construct two dozen wind turbines,
each more than 300 feet tall and strobe-lighted, on the ridgelines
around this Northeast Kingdom community. Each tower would require about
four acres of land, the company says.
Thursday, Project Manager Tim Caffyn met with more than 100 people from
Sheffield and neighboring towns to tell them about his plans for their
mountains. Many people who crammed into the Sheffield Town Hall were
justifiably skeptical of a proposal that would trade the solitude and
breathtaking beauty of the Northeast Kingdom for a high-elevation
utility project with whirling blades, transmission lines and clear-cut
This is what Vermont is facing. In small communities around the state,
wind developers will bring their charts, their “green energy” tenets and
their monetary incentives to town hall meetings. In this case, the
company is offering $150,000 a year to a town that has an annual budget
of about $600,000.
The Northeast Kingdom, sparsely populated and with some impressively
tall peaks, is being targeted by wind developers who are staking their
claims on the high ridges. The owners of East Haven Windfarm, four
proposed 330-foot-tall turbines on East Mountain near the Sheffield
site, are awaiting a decision from the Public Service Board.
In the absence of solid guidance from Gov. Jim Douglas and state
officials on the siting of wind turbines on private mountains, Vermont
can expect more wind prospectors to beat a path to the Public Service
Board’s door in hopes of constructing their own ridge-top developments.
These mountains, the rare northern quiet and spectacular natural beauty
that are so integral to Vermont need protection. Stand with the people
in these communities who are trying to save their ridgelines from
industrial wind development. Ask the governor for leadership on this
issue, or watch giant wind turbines sprout from the Green Mountains.
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