Last summer, I got married to a lifelong resident of Westfield and moved to the Northeast Kingdom from Somerset County, Pennsylvania, where I grew up. Somerset County and Orleans County are similar in many ways – rural, mountainous, and recently, the proving ground for industrial-scale wind projects.
The first wind turbines were minor tourist attractions: motorists flattened nearby hay fields to get a better look. A few years later the second “wind farm” went in, and a few months after that, the third and fourth. Suddenly, everyone began to take notice. Landowners who had leased property for the turbines began to have regrets. Longtime friends who leased their best field for the construction of two turbines pull their curtains closed and shut their windows to avoid reminders of this decision, which has been so distressing for their family. Given the choice again, would they sign over their land? Definitely not.
These days, people see wind turbines as what they are: money makers for big corporations, at a cost to the environment. Wind turbines are not the only option, and my experience has shown that they are certainly not the best. That’s why my household will cast a no vote for upgrading the transmission line that would support Green Mountain Power’s proposal for turbines on the Lowell Mountains. A few extra cents on the electric bill is not much to trade for the cultural, environmental, and economic value of an unindustrialized landscape.