At least 200 Barton residents shouted a loud NO! to power generating towers in Barton and in Sheffield at a public meeting last week. The meeting was called to figure out a way to change Barton’s Town Plan to remove any approving reference to wind tower generation in town. The theme of the meeting was that wind towers on Barton’s and neighboring ridgelines would grossly disfigure the beauty of the town and of Crystal Lake. Liz Butterfield, owner of the Barton Village Corner Store said it all. “This petition basically reinforces that we don’t want to look at the (towers) at the end of Crystal Lake, and we don’t want the construction coming through. And in the future, we don’t want wind development in the town of Barton. I think a 420-food wind tower at the end of a state park (Crystal Lake State Park) is a travesty.”
We emphatically agree. The most valuable asset that the Northeast Kingdom has is its splendid, wild ruggedness. It is literally wonder full. Heretofore, it has been safe from marring and scarring through the protections of Act 250. In August, the Public Service Board, which, incidentally, is not subject to Act 250, approved construction permits for 16 wind-power giant turbines in Sheffield. Several of them will be visible from Crystal Lake and Barton, and we can be sure that these 16, if they are built, will breed like rabbits now that the permit wall has been breached.
The damnable thing is that, if there were no tax subsidies for these monsters, there would be no interest in building them. They can make power only 11 percent of the time and must be backed up by conventional power sources, mostly coal or oil. But there are tax subsidies, and they are very profitable. Vermonters are in a position to be raped twice by this assault on their assets, first when they have to watch the ruination of their ridgelines and landscape, and, second, when they have to pay for the pleasure.
Wind power in Vermont is pure politics. If it weren’t, its proponents wouldn’t be pushing wind towers in the Northeast Kingdom where their product isn’t viable. They would be pushing them on top of Mt. Mansfield and Camel’s Hump and along both the east and west shores of North and South Hero and Grand Isle. The wind is steady in all those places, but the political power of their defenders guarantees that it will never be harnessed, and that because of the unsightliness of the monster towers. What’s sauce for our goose is not sauce for their gander.
23 November 2007