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Great environmental costs  

Credit:  The Hardwick Gazette, Wednesday, March 2, 2011 ~~

I am writing in opposition to the proposed Lowell Mountain Kingdom Community Wind Project (Docket No. 7628). Our family owns a camp on Square Road in Eden. For over 40 years four generations of our family have enjoyed hiking, hunting whitetail, grouse and woodcock, fishing for brook trout, cross country skiing and snowmobiling on the VAST trail, all in the Lowell Mountain Range from Don Nelson’s farm to Bigelow Basin, Norcross Mt to the Boomhower Brook.

We have gotten to know many of the residents in Eden, Craftsbury, Lowell and Albany. Some have become good friends. Some of our family settled in Vermont because of the ties established from years in Lowell. I know what it is like to live in a community whose character has been changed due to a mega-project like the proposed Kingdom Wind project.

This will change what too thousands of years to create. Once the blasting, grading, road building and alteration of wetlands and streams occur there is no going back. In fact, I don’t see much in the way of reclamation once decommissioned. Even the coal mine states require more from their industry than you are proposing here. This shouldn’t be an experiment or model to see what results. These are not rich communities and, in fact, they probably qualify under EPA’s Environmental Justice guidelines. Why should we put this on the backs of folks who can’t afford to fight Green Mountain Power and the other owners?

This is one of New England’s last unfragmented landscapes. It is its own bioreserve, teeming with wildlife. An important connectivity between farms, forests and fields that are critical for black bear, bobcat, moose, whitetail deer and fisher cat. Not to mention great migratory bird habitat from hawks, ducks, geese, woodcock, an occasional eagle, and many neotropical birds and butterfly species. I read the ANR report and despite the concern for little brown bat and Indiana bat, recently affected by white nose syndrome, there is a recognition that there will be considerable bat mortality as a result of this project. There are alternatives in areas that have already been developed, already have seen fragmentation.

Has there been an economic study to ascertain the impact on tourism? Those who come to the region’s bed and breakfasts, to the Craftsbury Outdoor Center,the camps at Little and Big Hosmer, and those who drive Route 14 during fall foliage all will be affected by the magnitude of this project. What about the real estate values of the residents of these communities? Twenty one wind towers, the size of most Boston skyscrapers, will change the appeal of this part of Vermont! Why weren’t those of us with seasonal residences notified? We will be affected by the viewshed and lights at night.

I have always been a proponent of alternative energy and ending our reliance on fossil fuels. I’ve been directly involved in many projects myself: wind, biomass, solar, hydro, to name a few. Our responsibility is to site these alternatives in such a way that not only considers the economic benefits but also factors in the environmental costs of such a project. This ecosystem took years to develop. I would hope the board members will factor that in when making their decision. Please consider the environmental natural resource cost of the Kingdom Community Wind Project in its entirety.

Bob Durand
Hardwick

Source:  The Hardwick Gazette, Wednesday, March 2, 2011

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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