Last week Green Mountain Power threatened a million dollar lawsuit against elderly farmers, Don and Shirley Nelson. The Canadian power company also secured a restraining order to limit how the Nelsons can use on their own land. GMP is taking legal action to prevent the Nelsons from hosting campers who could, by their proximity to construction, slow the blasting of the Lowell Mountain ridgeline.
At stake, if GMP can’t start producing power by Dec. 31, 2012, is nearly $50 million in federal tax credits.
These alarming developments, coupled with the controversial history of the project, casts GMP in a terrible light and should concern even their most ardent supporters.
Without question, these wind projects will destroy our landscapes and ecosystems. In exchange, Vermont secures unreliable and expensive power, meaningless CO2 reduction, and divided communities. GMP, acting on a legislative mandate, gets huge tax credits, subsidies and kilowatt/hour rates five times higher than those we pay for the carbon neutral power from Vermont Yankee.
The Nelsons, after spending generations on their land, get bullied, beaten and driven out by Governor Shumlin’s darling GMP.
Meanwhile, to preserve the appearance of fairness, the Agency of Natural Resources is suddenly interested in GMP’s compliance with environmental concerns at the project site. This is the same ANR that was either stupid or complicit in fast-tracking the project under pressure from Shumlin. What did they expect an industrial wind site would do to the land?
This is a tragic story already, yet there are many chapters to go. GMP will soon control close to 80 percent of power in Vermont and has Shumlin and the Legislature in its pocket. These are ominous signs of a stormy power future.
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