DERBY LINE – People who don’t want to see two industrial-size wind turbines on the hills above Derby Line are doing more than speaking out at meetings.
They are now circulating a petition saying “No” to big turbines in the town of Derby and demanding that selectmen join the opposition.
Karen Jenne, Derby Line clerk and member of the Derby Board of Selectmen, said she and other opponents began handing around the petition this week.
The petition reads: “We the undersigned, hereby petition the Town of Derby Select Board to show opposition to the proposed wind turbine project in the Derby Line area.”
The petition shows a simulated view of the turbines done by the developers and includes details about the project.
The developers, Encore Redevelopment, Blue Wave Capital and Northern Power Systems, plan to install two 425-foot turbines on two hilltop farm fields east of Interstate 91 in Derby Line. The turbines would be the first in Vermont on open farm fields.
The farmers, Bryan and Susan Davis of Grandview Farm off Caswell Avenue/Valley Road and Jonathan and Jane Chase of Smugglers Hill Farm on Goodall Road, are asking local officials for support.
The petition raises questions about the size, impacts on property values, human health, bats and birds, shadow flicker caused by the blades, and the potential for expensive legal bills.
“By signing this petition, you are saying ‘No, I do not support industrial size wind turbines in the Town of Derby.'”
The developers have asked area towns for their comment on the project as part of a 45-day notice in advance of applying for a certificate of public good from the utility regulators on the Vermont Public Service Board.
Some members of the Derby Board of Selectmen have indicated their support for the wind project.
Jenne on Monday tried to get the rest of the board to hold local hearings on the turbines but she was rebuffed.
Selectman Laura Dolgin, who has supported the wind project, told Jenne to pursue her opposition as an individual.
Board Chairman Brian Smith has said he supports the project because it benefits local farmers.
Smith told Jenne to do her research and come back to the board with more information.
Smith attended a closed-door informational meeting Tuesday evening in Stanstead, Quebec hosted by members of the Stanstead town council. The Stanstead mayor invited Smith, the wind developers, Derby Line Trustee Keith Beadle and Bryan Davis to the meeting. Jenne said at first she was told that she could not attend.
The developers are required to seek local comment on the project before filing their application with the PSB.
They want to receive their certificate in the spring and hope to have the two turbines up and generating electricity by the end of 2012.
The turbines are the only wind developments under a state pilot project that encourages small renewable projects in Vermont.
A third turbine proposed for the Letourneau farm near the other two farms in Derby didn’t make the cut but could in the future if the pilot project is continued by the Legislature.
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