With the news that a Burlington PR firm, Spike Advertising, has been hired to increase pressure on residents who are scrambling to deal with an unregulated industry’s drive to impose itself on the verdant landscape of the Northeast Kingdom, I strongly urge residents to consider the consequences of allowing themselves to be railroaded into something that they may well come to regret when the evening sky reveals the massive silhouetted towers, blinking away on the pristine ridges we are so accustomed to and we are still left relying on a non-intermittent, water-produced, clean electrical power from Quebec Hydro and other sources.
Let’s be realistic, unless we are prepared to make major, major changes in our lifestyle, covering the state of Vermont with 1,000 weather reliant wind turbines (the amount it would take to replace Vermont Yankee’s ability to only produce one-third of our demand) is hardly the solution that is going to work for us.
Gov. Jim Douglas has called for any development in the wind power industry to specifically relate to a Vermont scale. This is a responsible approach, in my view.
I cannot see a governor that spends so much time maintaining an intimate relationship with all four corners of the state, allowing the present rush to build on our ridges continue before any detailed, as he calls it, Vermont friendly regulations, specific to wind power, partly based on the experiences of other states and countries, are in place. Urge him to slow things down.
Other communities, too, across the USA have also realized that this step needs deep consideration, regulation and time.
The benefits of wind power must be balanced against many factors. Those of us who are “in the thick of it” and read daily reports from all over the world know that the golden egg comes with a price. In Scotland, a country whose west coast has a natural beauty of a quality Vermonters will appreciate, are fighting the rape of the offshore islands as wind developers rush to capitalize on the British government’s panicked drive to meet its quotas.
In the USA, out in the West, it has been learned that cows on a dairy farm have been decimated with cancer from “stray voltage” from wind turbine towers which raises the questions about how our highly sensitive wildlife, and people too, will respond both to this potential and the noise and flickering of the turbine’s blades.
Bear in mind that baloonists at 10,000 feet at night have reported that they can hear conversations in people’s backyards as they float overhead, and when developers tell you that there will be no sound, just reflect on the beautiful nighttime silence that many of you who choose to live here now enjoy and consider what power you might have to reverse an installation on a ridge line when you realize that you are faced with the monotonous thump-thump-thump of a row of 20 200-ton wind turbines. And it just won’t go away.
Wind power should have a place in our future, but I believe that by taking some valuable time out, we will eventually come up with a solution that even gives the power, literally, “back to the people” in the form of smaller locally and privately owned turbines, instead of producing power on such a massive and intrusive scale (the hubs alone of these 300-400 foot giants weigh 56 tons) which will, inevitably flow into the coffers out of state.
Remember, too, that our own electricity guzzling, larger population centers will be spared the effects of wind turbines as the FAA does not permit any structure that tall within a 6.5-mile radius of any airport, and so it is those who choose a quieter lifestyle who will have to suffer the blinking lights at night so that the traffic lights can work in urban areas.
We need to help the governor in his sensible approach, take time to educate ourselves and slow down the present drive to take away our beautiful ridge lines. There is no rush. Global warming is definitely a factor, but realistically, let’s keep things in perspective and remember that Vermont uses about the equivalent amount of electricity of a couple of small industrial Ohio cities.
Let’s take the time. Go out on your porch and take a deep breath tonight. Soak it up and think about how much it means to you and let that be your guiding light.
J. Dylan Rivis
J. Dylan Rivis
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