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Windmills will blight Searsburg ridge lines

Regarding Mickey Nowak’s recent letter to the editor, I would recommend the writer read the feature article in the same issue that the letter was published. It gives a much more informed explanation of what is being proposed in Searsburg.

While the writer doesn’t feel that the turbines will be the death of the Deerfield Valley, they’ll most certainly blight the ridgetop of Searsburg. They’ll do little to correct the energy mix used by Vermonters and absolutely nothing to reduce dependence on foreign oil or the cost of gasoline. Wind turbines are intermittent producers of electricity, shutting down with unfavorable wind (too light or too strong) without notice. They will require (as do the existing turbines) constant backup. Foreign developers will be profiting from the huge expansion, not Vermonters.

The tourism aspect is questionable. The operators of the existing turbines give tours a few times a year. They shut the turbines off during the tours, but never fully explain why. Is it noise? Is it the danger of a human fatality should one of the rotors, whose tips reach speeds of 200 mph, breaks yet again? Is it safe to hike the area when they are spinning? Who knows, the operators won’t tell us. Whatever the explanation, they certainly have something to hide.

About “getting used to the turbines,” I live under the existing eyesores. I have not, nor will I, get used to them. They are noisy, with constant whirring and intermittent clunks that I first mistook for gunshots. I can hear this inside my house with the windows shut. The proposed expansion will, by the developers’ estimates, put the average noise level at my house at 44.9 dBA. The World Health Organization defines 45 dBA as unfit for human habitation. Several acres of my property, and that of dozens of neighbors, will be above this limit. I doubt that I would get used to that. Would you?

Add the visual impact of soiling this pristine section of National Forest, including constantly flashing aircraft beacons, and you have an industrial complex, not a wilderness. Each of these behemoths would be 400 feet tall. As an idea of how huge this is, the Statue of Liberty and the Bennington Monument are each over 100 feet shorter than each of the 17 proposed turbines. There is a graphic representation of this fact at www.windacion.org/ =download&fileId=482.

You have seen turbines in foreign countries. Iberdrola, the developer, is a Portuguese company. Do you work for them? Why do you state you’ve seen turbines in foreign countries, but don’t mention the ones in Searsburg. Have you ever visited Searsburg?

There are better alternatives for electricity production. One is located right in Somerset. Vermont leads the nation (by a large margin) in percent of energy consumption from renewable sources. Adding more wind turbines would not alter that ratio, for reasons stated above.

The turbines will not help our energy needs and don’t belong in the National Forest. Let’s keep it a forest.

Tom Shea


The Deerfield Valley News

6 November 2007