How arrogant these developers are. For this project they call themselves, UPC Vermont Wind (a Delaware LLC). UPC never approached the town of Sutton Selectmen or the Sutton Planning Board to introduce themselves or explain their intentions to site 400- foot industrial wind turbines on our ridge lines. Nor did they respond to letters of concern from our Planning Board, from as far back as 2003, regarding their proposal to site wind towers on our border within the town of Sheffield. On October 6, 2005, UPC sent formal notice of their intention to seek approval from the Public Service Board. It was then that Sutton learned of this project, and the folks in Sheffield learned that more and taller turbines were being proposed than the town had been previously told.
The hustle was on. Numerous newspaper articles about wind began to appear. They always included false or misleading claims about the proposed project. Several mailings from UPC to Sutton residents offered up the same lies. In January and February UPC staged two informational meetings in Sutton. Very few of our questions were answered, but we were lectured on the benefits of wind and told that the NEK is the only place in Vermont for building wind projects. When someone asked why not in the Montpelier area where some of the energy would be going, officials from the E. Montpelier based Washington Electric Coop. jumped out of their chairs, “No way!”
At the March Sutton Town Meeting where I was sitting, I saw a very different Town Meeting than Glen Stine (“Setting facts straight” Oct. 12 Caledonian-Record). He recounts that “a group of less that one-quarter of Sutton’s registered voters showed up at town meeting”, while Burlington Free Press reporter Candace Page wrote: “They turned out in record numbers.” In front of TV cameras from WCAX (channel 3 Burlington), speaker after speaker spoke in opposition of the project. As Candace Page put it,” townspeople attacked the proposal from virtually every angle.” Moderator Chip Devenger asked “is there anyone here who would like to speak in favor of this article”? No one came forward. When the votes were counted 86% of the voters said no.
With this overwhelming mandate from the voters and our town plan to defend, our selectmen did the proper thing by hiring an attorney to fight these out of state developers who would exploit our Town and the NEK for their own gain. Allowing this development of go ahead, right in the middle of the NEK, would be shortsighted and inconsistent with our Town Plan and the values Vermonters have shared about their landscape for centuries. Come on Nov. 8 and vote to support our selectmen and protect our town.
Chair, Sutton Planning Board
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