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Campers try to stop Lowell wind project  

Credit:  By Gina Bullard, www.wcax.com 12 October 2011 ~~

The Lowell wind project has the green light from the state, but the massive renewable energy endeavor is still facing obstacles that Green Mountain Power is willing to pay for. Don and Shirley Nelson live on more than 580 acres beneath the Lowell Mountain Range. And they have some guests trying to halt the wind project.

The Nelsons currently have campers protesting on the Western edge of their farm. The group is hoping to stall Green Mountain Power from blasting a road– one of the first steps to getting a wind power project going.

“Those campers are friends, neighbors from all over the state. I’ve always had my land open and they asked if they could go up there and camp and that’s what they’re doing,” said Don Nelson, a Lowell Mountain homeowner.

The guests are in an area deemed unsafe for blasting. GMP can’t proceed if people are within 1,000 feet of the detonation.

“Rock is not expected to go on the Nelsons’ property, but standard blasting procedures is to make sure there are no people within that zone,” said Dotty Schnure of GMP.

GMP offered to buy the Nelson’s 580-acre farm at the full asking price of $1.25 million, but the Nelsons turned it down, saying they wanted $1 million more.

Now, GMP is threatening to sue if the campers delay the project.

“Their good neighbor policy– they sent a hand-delivered letter with a million dollars worth of fines and damages if we keep the campers on the ridgeline,” Nelson said.

“Delays have a cost to them and it’s not right our customers should have to pay that additional cost when it’s in full control of the Nelsons to ask their campers to move,” Schnure said.

GMP says this would be a case of intentional interference with a contract.

“If the project is delayed as a result of the Nelsons’ actions, we’ll ask that the Nelsons be held responsible for the costs and those costs could easily run over a million dollars very quickly,” Schnure said.

The Nelsons’ farm has been on the market for several years and although GMP doesn’t need to buy the property since they already have the go-ahead from the state, GMP officials say they just want resolve the issue.

Source:  By Gina Bullard, www.wcax.com 12 October 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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