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Albany & Craftsbury oppose Lowell wind project  

Credit:  Energize Vermont, energizevermont.org 21 March 2011 ~~

Town Selectboards Sign Letters of Opposition Outlining Concerns GMP Failed to Adequately Address

Selectboards from Albany and Craftsbury released letters today officially opposing the development of the Kingdom Community Wind project in nearby Lowell, VT. Green Mountain Power has applied to the Public Service Board (PSB) for a Certificate of Public Good (CPG) to construct twenty-one 410+ foot wind turbines along the Lowell Mountains ridgeline. Both towns participated in the PSB’s CPG process, and after months of discovery, hearings, and investigation have determined that the proposed benefits from the project do not outweigh the adverse impacts to their communities.

Albany is the closest population center to the proposed project. There, the Selectboard, in a letter approved at its March 15 meeting, wrote, “We believe the project is shocking and offensive and will have an undue adverse impact on our community.” The Board’s letter went into detail citing three major concerns about the project. The Board fears the health impacts from noise generated by the turbines, the visual and aesthetic impacts on the community and the potential impact the project may have on the community’s existing emergency fire response resources.

Mike Nelson, the volunteer “designee” on the project for the Albany Selectboard, said, “The Selectboard has from the beginning worked hard to understand the potential benefits and costs of this project to the Town. After nearly a year of study it is clear to the board that the proposed project poses significant risks to the health of our citizens and their overall quality of life.”

Craftsbury is located just south of Albany and has many of the most prominent direct sight lines to the proposed project area. The Town based its testimony to the PSB on the issue of aesthetics as it affects the local economy and quality of life. The Town’s Selectboard asked their Conservation Commission to investigate the project, and the Selectboard chose to adopt their findings. The Conservation Commission’s letter outlining their findings cited impacts to the area’s natural heritage as the primary reason for opposing the project.  The Commission also cited concerns that the project would impact wildlife habitat, water flows, and community identity. The Commission disagreed with some of the proposed benefits, saying the project would “fail to provide Vermont residents with stable, low cost power” and “make no effective contribution to Vermont’s climate change efforts.”

Steve Wright, the Craftsbury Selectboard’s volunteer liaison on the project for the past year, said, “Such major industrial development proposals are regional and statewide issues. Outdated state energy policy is placing towns in conflict with each other. After a year of work and study we believe it is time to confront the fact that this project will likely have a negative effect on our community.”

Energize Vermont has opposed the project based on concerns that it is too large for Vermont, and would have too extreme an environmental impact. Lukas B. Snelling, the organization’s Director of Communication said, “The Lowell Mountains ridgeline provides some of the most serene, beautiful, and important habitats for both wildlife and humans this state has to offer. We are pleased the Towns have chosen to oppose this project in an effort to respect this vast natural resource. We look forward to working with both communities to foster other renewable energy projects that are more appropriate for their areas and resources.”

Copies of both letters are available on the Energize Vermont website at www.energizevermont.org.

Energize Vermont was created to educate and advocate for establishing renewable energy solutions that are in harmony with the irreplaceable character of Vermont, and that contribute to the well-being of all her people. This mission is achieved by researching, collecting, and analyzing information from all sources; and disseminating it to the public, community leaders, legislators, media, and regulators for the purpose of ensuring informed decisions for long term stewardship of our communities.

# # #

Download a copy of this release in PDF.

Download Albany Selectboard Letter.

Download Craftsbury Conservation Commission Letter and the Selectboard Letter.

Source:  Energize Vermont, energizevermont.org 21 March 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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