BARTON – Residents upset about recent state approval for a wind power project in a neighboring town have launched a petition drive to change the town plan to prohibit commercial wind power development.
“This petition basically reinforces that we don’t want to look at the ones at the end of Crystal Lake, and we don’t want the construction coming through,” said Liz Butterfield, owner of the Barton Village Corner Store. “And in the future, we don’t want wind development in the town of Barton.”
In an interview, Butterfield said she doubted changing the Barton town plan would stop the wind power project in neighboring Sheffield. Among their worries, Barton residents say some of the towers will be visible from Crystal Lake State Park.
“I think a 420-food wind tower at the end of a state park is a travesty,” Butterfield said.
The state Public Service Board in August gave its approval for 16 wind-power turbines in Sheffield. The 420-foot towers, which still require other regulatory approvals, would be built by Massachusetts-based UPC Wind and generate 40 megawatts of power.
Meanwhile, a second petition being pushed by the group Ridge Protectors, which opposes commercial wind development on Vermont’s mountaintops, urges the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to give careful scrutiny to the UPC project.
“We represent residents and property owners in Vermont who are very concerned about potential adverse impacts to wetlands, vernal pools, prime bear habitat, birds and bats, and other wildlife, should the proposed UPC Sheffield Wind facility be built,” it begins.
In Barton, about 100 signatures of local residents would be required to bring the town plan change to a vote, said petition drive organizer JoAnn Stefanski.
“This would be part of the town plan,” she said. “We wanted to get this in so the town could vote up or down. I think a lot of towns are in the same position as Barton; they need some protection.”
17 October 2007
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