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Lawmakers oppose VEC line upgrade

Today, a group of Orleans County legislators are expected to announce that they are joining the fight against a proposed upgrade to a Vermont Electric Cooperative transmission line that would also carry power from the Lowell wind project.

Energize Vermont, which has spoken on behalf of groups opposing the Lowell wind project called Kingdom Community Wind, made that announcement Friday.

Energize Vermont says the lawmakers involved are Orleans County Reps. Vicki Strong, Sam Young, Lynn Batchelor, Michael Marcotte, Duncan Kilmartin, and Bob Lewis, plus Orleans-Essex County Sen. Bobby Starr.

These lawmakers have already announced their opposition to the Lowell wind project. Green Mountain Power has initial regulatory permission to erect 21 industrial-grade wind turbines on Lowell’s ridgeline.

Energize Vermont announced Friday that these legislators would sign their names to advertisements asking VEC members to vote against the upgrade. The ads are scheduled to appear in local newspapers.

VEC members, who are customers from across northern Vermont, are due to vote on the transmission line upgrade this month by mail.

The $8.5 million upgrade would also increase reliability to the Jay-Lowell area – especially to Jay Peak Resort which is expected to see an increase in power needs in the next few years with its major ongoing expansion. GMP has agreed to pay for 58 percent of the upgrades and the maintenance of the 16.9-mile line.

The announcement is set for today at 10 a.m. at Bob’s Quick Stop, Irasburg.