Superficially, the town-by-town approval/disapproval sounds like the right way to go. After all, the democratic, grass roots process is what government is supposed to be all about, and we don’t disagree with that premise. However, in this case, the grass roots interests do not stop at the geographic boundaries of individual towns. Just as the whole state votes on our constitutional officers, whole sections of the state are within the viewscape of ridge lines that will be despoiled by these towers and fans. All of the citizens affected by a denigrated view outside their windows have a right to be heard, even to vote on the issue.
The wind power companies, in order to win a single town’s approval, can seduce the town’s citizens with lucrative tax and land offers, much in the manner of a loss leader in a grocery store, in order to dazzle the locals into thinking it’s a good deal. The second and following seductions, of course, are easier and cheaper than the first. Without the surrounding towns’ participation in the decision, we’re going to get 400-foot wind towers on the ridges of our weakest municipal sisters’ ridge lines, and the issue will be lost.
Let’s just change the names of where the wind power companies want to put their towers from East Haven Mountain, Hardscrabble Mountain, Granby Mountain, Libby Hill, Norris Mountain and the Lowell Mountain Range, to Burke Mountain, Jay Peak, Mount Mansfield, Camel’s Hump, Killington Mountain and Mount Equinox. How much of a possibility of municipal approval of scores of 400-foot wind towers on those ridge lines do you think the wind power companies would get? We suspect they would have two chances – slim and none.
The state should slam the door shut on ridge line power installations that haven’t been approved by the people who live within the viewscape. NVDA should vacate its endorsement until the people have spoken.