Concerned about the wind turbine facility proposed for ridgelines on National Forest land within one mile of my home in Searsburg, I recently visited the Maple Ridge wind generating facility in the Tug Hill region of northern New York State.
There are 195 turbines there and they are 390 feet tall (vs. the 410-foot tall proposed turbines in Searsburg and Readsboro). I arrived there on a calm day when the blades of about five of the many turbines I saw, were turning slowly. The rest were completely still.
In photos of me standing at the base of one of these turbines, I appear to be an ant barely noticeable to the naked eye. Most of the turbines are inaccessible, as the roads leading to them are gated and posted with “no trespassing” signs prohibiting access to hunters, snowmobilers, and the general public. I stood at the side of the road near one of the turning turbines and, even while turning slowly, the blades made a constant distinctive whooshing sound and also an intermittent metallic clanking noise.
Even at the low speed, the whirling shadows cast on the ground from the huge blades were unsettling. The turbines were towering over many homes and cabins, several of which had views of at least 40 turbines. If many or all of these turbines were operational, it would be difficult for people living nearby to engage in any outdoor activities, even on their own property, because of the disconcerting effects of the turbine noise and shadows.
The proposed Searsburg/Readsboro project is part of the forest service’s Alternative E Modified plan wherein they identify a total of 19,700 acres of the Green Mountain National Forest as “diverse forest use.” Areas in the southern part of the National Forest deemed “viable and suitable” for wind power development run from Dover down to the Massachusetts border. This plan ties in with a government executive order for executive agencies to expedite projects that will increase the production and transmission of energy including the use of federal lands to meet those goals.
By allowing these 17 proposed wind turbines on National Forest land in Searsburg/Readsboro it will open the door for more industrialization of our ridgelines, not only in Vermont, but across the country.
Send your comments on this issue to the Vermont Public Service Board at firstname.lastname@example.org (reference “Docket No. 7250 –Deerfield Wind Project”). I would hate to see our National Forest land looking like the area of Tug Hill I just visited, with huge turbines looming as far as the eye can see.
21 November 2007
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