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Protect the national forests  

I read last week’s article “Forest Service buys Handle Road parcel” with trepidation. It is important to realize that the United States Forest Service no longer protects forest lands, even national forests, from development. Their 2006 Final Environmental Impact Statement for Vermont’s Green Mountain National Forest identifies 37 sites, for a total of 19,700 acres, as “potentially both viable and suitable” for wind power development.

As quoted in their report on Page 3-298, “Alternative E [has] several large contiguous sites available for consideration, including the entire potentially viable area of Corporation Mountain – Round Mountain – Wilcox Peak site in Chittenden and Pittsfield, the Rice Hill area in Dover, and the area from Mount Snow south to State Route 9 in Dover, Somerset, Searsburg, and Wilmington. …Alternative E has the Hoosac Range.” This report can be viewed at www.fs.fed.us/r9/gmfl/ in the “Forest Plan Revision Pages” section.

Like the Handle Road parcel, the GMNF land in Searsburg, which is being considered for 17 industrial wind turbines, each 41 stories high, is also important bear habitat. It includes the beech stand most used by bears in Vermont and nearly 500 of those trees would be destroyed if the Deerfield Wind project is approved by the public service board. The public would be denied their right to hike and snowmobile on many acres of their national forest. The project would also set a devastating precedent for industrialized wind projects in our national forests.

Currently, 131 wind turbines are being considered for the George Washington National Forest in Virginia and large-scale wind projects are already being considered for national forest lands in West Virginia and Michigan. If approved, the Deerfield Wind project would be just the beginning of ridgeline industrialization of our national forests in Vermont and across the United States.

Save Vermont Ridgelines was formed to protect our ridgelines from the negative impacts of wind energy development. We are an intervening party in the Vermont Public Service Board’s Docket No. 7250 – Petition of Deerfield Wind LLC.

If, like us, you feel that our national forests should be protected from industrialization, please visit our Web site at www.clearskyvt.org and learn how you can help.

Jeanette Lee, secretary, Save Vermont Ridgelines

Searsburg

The Deerfield Valley News

3 April 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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