The highly disputed Lowell Wind Project is now under way.
Green Mountain Power began blasting near where protestors have camped out. Roughly 20 protestors camped out Tuesday on the mountain. The hike takes roughly one hour straight up from behind the Nelson’s property.
The protestors are fighting Green Mountain Power’s $156 million project planned to build 21 wind turbines– each more than 400-feet tall. GMP officials say the turbines would power more than 24,000 homes.
The problem is a boundary dispute between GMP and Don and Shirley Nelson. They are unwilling to sell their property that is needed by GMP to blast on.
GMP says the project was supported by 75 percent of Lowell residents.
Protestors claim the town stands behind the Nelsons.
“We will build this wind project. We will most definitely build the wind project. What the issue is now is about safety. We need to clear a zone so that we can blast safely according to normal blasting procedures that are used hundreds of times a year across the state,” said Dotty Schnure of GMP.
“Nobody is up there because they are required to be or even asked to be. So individuals are up there based on what they want to do. My folks have never posted their property against hunters and hikers,” said Michael Nelson, the landowners’ son.
Several protestors we met Tuesday declined to speak on camera and did want their names revealed due to the legal issue at hand. Don Nelson says there is no asking price or compromise aside from shutting the project down. He expects this will likely end in a lawsuit.