Two recent letters made a claim that the proposed Deerfield Wind project will provide energy to 78% of Windham County residents. Where did this incorrect figure come from? If any of you actually went to PPM Energy’s “informational” meetings, you would have heard the same answer I got when I asked their representatives if any of the electricity produced was staying locally – “The energy would go into the grid. It would go where it was needed at that moment, which could be locally, maybe Connecticut or Maine.” There is no guarantee that any of the electricity generated would stay locally, or even in Vermont.
Far from being “environmentally friendly,” the proposed project would effectively destroy one of the largest, if not the largest, bear habitats in Vermont. The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources stated in recent testimony that the project “would result in significant adverse impacts to black bear habitat” and would “cause long-term harm to the bear population in southern Vermont.” The Vermont Natural Resources Council has stated that the wildlife habitat in the western project area could not be mitigated. In other words, once destroyed, that habitat cannot be repaired or replaced.
In the more than two years I have lived in Searsburg, I have found its residents to be proud, independent, and tough. You fight for your beliefs and you love the “wildness” of Searsburg. So why do some of you apparently feel that letting an international corporation come into our town, destroy our ridgelines, and then give our town a pittance of money is okay? By building the equivalent of 17 41-story skyscrapers on our National Forest land, that we will have to live with for the next 20 to 30 years, PPM will be making millions in tax credits and subsidies.
The monetary benefit to town residents is small compared to the loss of critical wildlife habitat, the adverse impacts to our quality of life (especially for those living in one of the 60 dwellings within one mile of the project) and the industrialization of our ridge lines which will change the rural character of Searsburg.
This matter is still before the Public Service Board and is certainly not a done deal. On Town Meeting day, Searsburg voters must ask themselves “Will this project be good for our town?” From countless hours of research, attending meetings, etc., I see far more negatives from this project than any possible benefits.
Unlike some residents, I don’t give up without a fight, I fight for what I believe in, and I believe this project would be detrimental to Searsburg.
7 February 2008
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